Russia’s Irkut signs cooperation agreement with Denel


Russian aircraft manufacturer Irkut has signed a cooperation agreement with state owned company Denel Aviation regarding the promotion of Irkut’ aircraft in southern Africa.

The agreement makes provision for the promotion of Irkut’s products in southern Africa, including its Yak-130 trainer and commercial MC-21 aircraft. It also covers the establishment of a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre at Denel Aviation and for industrial cooperation between the two companies.

The agreement was signed on July 10 during the Farnborough International Airshow by Irkut President Alexey Fedorov and Michael L Kgobe, CEO of Denel Aviation.

The long-term agreement underlines the activity of interaction between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Africa within the Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa (BRICS) organization, Irkut said.

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 2010. In December last year the Russian defence ministry signed a contract with Irkut for 55 Yak-130s, which will be supplied to the Russian Air Force by 2015.

In 2006 Irkut signed a contract for 16 Yak-130s for the Algerian Air Force. Deliveries took place at the end of last year.

Irkut estimates the market capacity for the Yak-130 is 250 aircraft between now and 2015.

Irkut is developing the MC-21 as a family of 150 to 210-passenger aircraft with first flight planned for 2015 and entry into service in 2017. The MC-21 is intended to compete with the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX, which use new generation engines and sharklets/winglets to achieve improved fuel efficiency. Irkut says its all-new design will result in lower procurement and operating costs, with 10% less fuel burn than the A320neo. It is slated to replace the Tupolev Tu-154 and Tupolev Tu-204/214 in service.

Irkut has 15% share of the Russian arms export, with an order book of approximately US$7 billion as of June this year. Over the past ten years the company’s revenue grew more than three times. Its core work includes exporting multi-role Su-30MK fighters, as well as Yak-130 combat trainers.