The Russian aircraft company “Irkut”, which is located in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, is currently perfecting the combat and training plane “Yakovlev-130”. The new, modified model of this plane will most likely be of great demand both in Russia and in several other countries.
“Yakovlev-130” is the first military plane which was created in Russia in after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That time, the 1990s, when many branches of industry in Russia were experiencing a crisis, was not easy for Russian aircraft industry as well.
Most likely, “Yakovlev-130” will be the last plane released under the name “Yakovlev”. This doesn’t mean, however, that the legendary Russian Yakovlev aircraft design bureau is ceasing to exist. The reason is that the bureau has become a part of the “Irkut” company. Now, Yakovlev planes are being built at a plant in Irkutsk which belongs to the “Irkut” company.
Employees of “Yakovlev” say that becoming a part of “Irkut” was a favor for them. This amalgamation allowed them to produce more planes – in 2012, Russia’s air forces received 25 “Yakovlev-130” planes.
However, just a few years ago, it was rather uncertain whether the “Yakovlev-130” plane would be released at all. First, this plane had a serious competitor – the Russian plane “MiG-AT”. Second, the entire situation in the Russian aircraft industry was rather unstable. Besides, for some time, the Yakovlev bureau has cooperated with the Italian “Aermacchi” company, and it is hard to say whether this cooperation was profitable for “Yakovlev” or not. On the one hand, when the Italian company was still in this joint project, it quite legally acquired access to the Russian bureau’s know-how. Now, “Aermacchi” has withdrawn from this project but is releasing a plane called “M-346”, which is similar to “Yakovlev-130” like a twin, and which is now a competitor for the Russian plane. On the other hand, the money, which the Italian company invested in this joint project, allowed “Yakovlev” to survive a period when the state was not financing it at all. Besides, “Yakovlev” started to release its new plane earlier than “Aermacchi” began releasing its analogue, which will most likely allow the Russian company to receive more orders for its plane than its former Italian partners (now competitors) may receive for its analogue. Moreover, engineers from the “Irkut” company are constantly perfecting the construction of “Yakovlev-130”.
The plane’s new model will be able to carry some additional kinds of weapons, like air-surface missiles “X-31” and “X-38”. Besides, the plane can be perfectly used for training young pilots.
Experts say that with the current development of military equipment, pilots should rather be trained on real combat planes than on their training versions. (Russian pilots sometimes dub training planes “flying school-desks”.) True, using real combat planes instead of training planes is more expensive and demand a more developed infrastructure at training centers. But using real combat planes for this purpose present quite a few other merits, and experts say that the final result is worth all the expenditures. Thus, the demand for the new Russian plane in the world is now large and will most likely be large in the foreseeable future.
In Russia, the demand for “Yakovlev-130” is large as well. The short-range plans of the Russian Defense Ministry include acquiring 65 such planes. In total, it is planned that the Russian Air Forces will have more than 200 “Yakovlev-130” planes.