Category Archives: Trainers

150 Yak-152 trainers for Russian armed forces

The Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed it has ordered 150 new Yakovlev Yak-152 advanced primary trainers early this month.

The new machine desigend by Yakovlev is produced by Irkut, where the first three aircraft are currently being pieced together (see image published by RIA Novosti here). The highly maneouvrable aicraft is said to be able to sustain G-loads up to +9 or -7, although with a crew of two it will be one G less, both positive and negative. The Yak-152 has been designed to be easily recoverable even when mishandled during flight and is not only to teach future pilots basic and advanced skills, but aerobatic and normal combat maneouvres as well.


Aided by multi-functional LCDs, with a triple redundancy of flight and navigation equipment and a flight information and performance data recorder the Yak-152 does lack a pressurized cockpit. IT can take off from both hardened as well as soft air strips, with a take-off run as short as about 705 feet (concrete) to 780 feet (grass/ground). For landing it needs 1260 feet (concrete) or 1125 feet (grass/ground).


The new trainer will be able to fly at standard speeds up to 189 knots (350 km/h), but is able to sustain as much as 269 knots (500 km/h) and its has a sustained climb rate of 30 feet/sec. Its service ceiling is 12,000 feet and the maximum flight range is 930 miles (1,500 km). The projected service life is 30,000 landings, or 10,000 flight hours. To reduce costs the Yak-152 is powered by a diesel, rather than a kerosine, engine.

Test planes

Irkut plans to have two test planes flying, with another two to be used for ground and airframe tests. The first production aircraft are expected to be delivered to the Russian armed forces in 2017, where they will likely replace older Yak-52s of which about 300 are operational.

© 2016 senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Computer rendering of the Yak-152 (Image © Irkut)

First Polish Master rolled out

Leonardo Finmeccanica rolled out the first of eight M-346 Master trainer jets for Poland on Monday 6 June. The aircraft was unveiled at the Leonardo Finmeccanica production site in Venegono, home of all production for the M-346.

The jet wears a two tone camouflage and the emblem of Dêblin airbase below its windshield. The Polish M-346s will be based at Dêblin, where they replace the TS-11 Iskras that have been in use for many decades.

The Masters will prepare future jet pilots for F-16 operations. The first jet will now undergo a flight test program to certify bespoke systems chosen by the Polish Air Force, such as the brake parachute. It will then be delivered to Poland by the end of the year along with a second aircraft. Deliveries will be completed by November 2017.

The M-346 is a product of Alenia Aermacchi, now part of Leonardo Aircraft and part of Leonardo Finmeccanica, and so far has been ordered by the Air Forces of Italy (18), Singapore (12), Israel (30) and Poland (8) for a total of 68 orders. A follow on order from Poland seems likely.

Lockheed Martin flies the T-50A

Lockheed Martin this week successfully completed the initial flight test of its T-50A configured aircraft. The T-50A is the company’s aircraft offering in the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Pilot Training competition, and is based on the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI T-50 Golden Eagle. The first flight took place from Sacheon airfield in South Korea.

“The aircraft in its new configuration with the 5th Gen cockpit and other upgrades performed flawlessly,” said Mark Ward, Lockheed Martin T-50A lead test pilot, after the flight in Sacheon, South Korea. “I have no doubt this aircraft will close the gap which currently exists between the trainer fleet and 5th Generation fighters.”

According to Lockheed Martin, the T-50A meets all APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule at low risk. The company is currently standing up its T-50A Final Assembly and Checkout site in Greenville, South Carolina.

Also in the race to supply a new jet trainer to the US, are Saab and Boeing, who aim to jointly design a new aircraft. Leonardo Finmeccanica has teamed up with Raytheon and offers the T-100, an upgraded version of the M-346 Master.

Lockheed Martin at first also announced it would design a new aircraft, but then changed its mind. The T-50A was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries. The latter so far delivered over 100 T-50 aircraft. The fleet has accumulated 100,000 flight hours and has trained more than 1,000 pilots.

© 2016 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The T-50A in flight. (Image © Lockheed Martin)

1,000 hours for T-346 in Italy

The Italian Air Force reached 1,000 flying hours on the Leonardo Finmeccanica T-346 this week. This milestone was celebrated by instructor pilots, students and other crew of 212 squadron at Lecce airbase in southern Italy.

The 1K hours were clocked since August 2014, when the first T-346 Masters arrived in Lecce. At first the type was used to train instructor pilots, who in turn started to use the jets to train student pilots in October 2015. The Italian Air Force uses the T-346 as a phase IV trainer, which prepares students for the the final step towards fast combat jets.

The first four Italian student have now completed phase IV training on the T-346. Meanwhile, Dutch pilots are also using the Italian made jet for training. A new version of the T-346, marked T-100, is being pitched as the next fast jet trainer for the US Air Force.

More Yak-130s for Russian Air Force

The Russian Ministry of Defense has ordered 30 more Yak-130 trainer and light attack jets for the Russian Air Force. The contract was signed in Moscow recently by vice-secretary of Defense Yuri Borisov and the Irkut aircraft manufacturing company.

The Yak-130 prepares Russian student pilots for 4th generation fighter aircraft like the Su-30 and Su-35 Flanker, plus the 5th generation PAK-FA that is currently being tested. The Yak-130 was initially designed as a jet trainer but has been modified to fulfill a light attack role also.

The Kremlin so far has ordered 109 Yak-130s, including this latest batch.  All 30 aircraft in this latest contract should be delivered by the end of 2018.

Algeria, Bangladesh and Belarus also operate the Yak-130.

© 2016 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A fully loaded Yak-130 in Russian Air Force livery during a test flight. (Image © Irkut)