Algerian pilots performed their first solo flights on the Yak-130 at Irkutsk Aviation Plant’s airfield on the first of this month. They first underwent a three month course covering flight theory and practical training, according to Irkut.
Algerian pilots along with the Irkut’s flight crew made more than 100 flights on the Yak-130 before going solo. In addition to pilots, a large number of Algerian engineers and technicians are attending the Yak-130 training course provided by Irkut.
In 2006 Irkut Corporation signed a contract for 16 Yak-130s for the Algerian Air Force. According to the ITAR-TASS news agency, the Irkutsk Aviation Plant will start delivering Algeria’s aircraft before the end of the year.
“About 30 fighters have already been assembled and are at the final stage of readiness,” said Irkut Aircraft Corporation President Alexei Fyodorov.
Algeria bought the Yak-130s as part of an arms package worth US$7.5 billion during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Algeria in March 2006. The deal included the purchase of 28 Sukhoi Su-30MKA and 34 MiG-29 multirole fighters (28 single-seat MiG-29SMTs and six two-seat MiG-29UBTs) as well as eight batteries of S-300PMU-2 air-defence missile systems and 24 Almaz-Antei 2S6M Tunguska 30 mm/SA-19 self-propelled air-defence systems. Deliveries of the MiG-29s was suspended and the 15 aircraft that had arrived returned to Russia following quality problems, but the Su-30s were accepted without issue.
The Yak-130 was designed to provide basic and advanced pilot training for Russian and foreign-made combat aircraft, including 4th+ and 5th generation fighters. The aircraft is fitted with an advanced glass cockpit and can carry 3 000 kg of weaponry.
The Yak-130 was chosen as the main aircraft for basic and advanced training of Russian Air Force pilots. Deliveries to the Russian Air Force, which expects to order an initial 72 aircraft, began in February last year.
Libya was the second export customer for the Yak-130 and ordered six. However, following the civil war there, deliveries have been frozen. “We do not know what will happen to it,” Fyodorov said about the Libyan contract. “But in any case, the planes that have been made for this country will be reoriented for another customer, first of all – for the Russian Air Force.”
Irkut estimates the market capacity for the Yak-130 is 250 aircraft between now and 2015.
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