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First Yak-130s arrive in Bangladesh

_Irkut Corp. launched the delivery of Yakovlev Yak-130 combat trainers to Bangladesh in September 2015. Rostec's Director General Sergei Chemezov told journalists when touring the shops of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant recently: "The shipping of the first batch of Yak-130s to Bangladesh will start on 17 September: six out of 16 aircraft ordered will be shipped." According to Bangladeshi sources, Russian transport aircraft An-124-100 Ruslan and Il-76TD-90VD of the Volga-Dnepr air carrier arrived in the country on 20 September, carrying the first Yak-130 batch and associated equipment.

Rosoboronexport Director General Anatoly Isaikin was first to mention the Bangladeshi Yak-130 contract signed in December 2013 in his interview with the Kommersant daily early last year. It was reported later that Bangladesh would receive 14 out of 16 ordered aircraft as soon as 2015, with the remaining two to follow in 2016.

The first Yak-130 for Bangladesh made its maiden flight at the airfield of the Irkut Corp.'s Irkutsk Aviation Plant on 29 April 2015. Five more aircraft had followed it before the end of August. The first team of Bangladeshi pilots and maintainers converted to the new type in Irkutsk this summer, and the delivery began in September.

Bangladesh is the second nation outside the former Soviet Union to have received Yak-130 combat trainers. Irkut Corp. fulfilled the first export contract for the type in 2011, when 16 aircraft were delivered to the Algerian Air Force. The corporation has been awarded some more Yak-130 orders by several Middle East countries, but their implementation had to be postponed due to the instability in the region.

Yak130s have been bought by former Soviet states as well. On 27 April 2015, Lida air base in the Grodno Region in the west of Belarus hosted a ceremony of fielding four Yak-130s with the 116th Guards Attack Aircraft Base of the Belarusian Air Force stationed there. Irkut delivered the combat trainers under the contract signed with the Belarusian Defence Ministry in December 2012. They became the first aircraft of the type to enter service with an air force of a former Soviet state other than to Russia. At the recent MAKS 2015 air show, Irkut and the Belarusian Defence Ministry stuck the second deal for four Yak-130 more to be delivered in 2016.

Overall, the Irkutsk Aviation Plant has built more than 90 production-standard Yak-130s by November 2015, of which about 60 have been delivered to RusAF training units, with 12 aircraft more were made by the Sokol Aircraft Plant in Nizhny Novgorod in 2010-11.

Published in Take-off magazine, November 2015.

(Photo: Alexei Korshunov)

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