The Belarusian Air Force is implementing a new strategy to make its ground attack raids more successful. With the introduction of the new and modern Yak-130 advanced jet trainer in the light attack role, the Eastern European military sees new possibilities by teaming the new aircraft up with the older Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot”.
On paper such a combined package looks rather good. The highly maneuverable Yak-130 with its contemporary sensors and newer navigation systems in theory serves as an excellent fast armed recon, forward air controller, targeting aircraft and light attack aircraft, while the older Su-25 brings it an impressive weapon capacity of up to 8,800 lbs (4,000 kg) on 11 hardpoints. Not that the Yak-130 by itself is so bad with up to 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg) on 9 hardpoints.
With four Yak-130s delivered an another four on their way, Minks sees a package of a package of one Yak-130 and one Su-25, or two of each in a four pack, as the attack element of choice when it comes to engaging ground targets or performing close-air support.
The first tests of the new tactic with the combination of both planes took place in the beginning of September. The Yak-130 carried out the navigation, and the Su-25 came in for the kill.
Irkut of Russia is expected to deliver the second batch of four Yakovlev-designed Yak-130 in 2016 to the Belarusian Air Force. The country keeps an official strenght of 68 Su-25s, with an estimated third to half of the fleet fully operational and the rest in various stages of maintenance or repair.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Irkut
Featured image (top): A Belarusian Yak-130 (Image © Irkut)