The Bangladesh Air Force (Bānglādēśh Bimān Bāhinī) has ordered 24 Yakovlev Yak-130 light attack and advanced training aircraft from Russia, a spokesperson for Russian state export company Rosoboronexport confirmed in an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant.
The two-seat aircraft is a joint development by Yakovlev and Italian Alenia Aermacchi. First flight was in 1996, with the first aircraft entering Russian Air Force service in 2009.
The Yak-130 can carry a payload of 3,000 kg (6600 lbs) and is also interesting for larger air forces as a lead-in trainer for its fighter jocks.
Apart from Russia, the Mitten (NATO-reporting name) also flies with the Algerian Air Force (16 aircraft). Mongolia (1), Belarus (4), Syria (36) have ordered the aircraft and Vietnam is said to be interested in receiving 8 Yak-130s. The Russian Air Force is even forming an aerobatic display team with the promising trainer.
No official word yet if the Yak-130s will replace any of the existing aircraft in Bangladesh service. The country currently operates aging Let L-39ZA Albatros as advanced jet trainers, with only up to 8 available.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger