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.
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.
The famous Monino aviation museum in Moscow may very well close its doors in the not-too-distant future and see parts of its unique collection of aircraft scrapped. A small number of airplanes could move to Kubinka airbase as part of the new ‘Patriot’ museum.
East of Moscow, Monino offers a fascinating collection of MiGs, Sukhois, Yakovlevs, Ilyuhsins and Tupolevs, many of them prototypes, early production models or otherwise rare aircraft. The museum is unique in every aspect, its number of exhibits not in the least. Many dozens of aircraft are on display.
Moscow ordered the building of the new ‘Patriot’ museum near Kubinka airbase to the west of Moscow. The base is home to Russian Air Force flight testing. Construction for the new museum started in 2014, and the location is now ready for items to be displayed. These should include a number of aircraft from Monino, with the remainder at Monino possibly to be scrapped.
Many aircraft at Monino, especially the larger ones, are deemed unfit for any kind of transportation as they would likely fall apart in the process. The Monino museum has been short on funds for maintenance for years.
The Belarusian Air Force started to upgrade almost its entire fleet of aircraft. The most ambitious part: to replace the 24 older MiG-29s “Fulcrum” combat jets with state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-30SM “Flanker” aircraft between 2020 and 2030.
During a meeting with journalist from Belarusian state press agency BelTA Major-General Oleg Dvigalev, Chief of Staff of the Belarusian Air Force and Air Defence, said that his people already test-flew the Su-30SM during the recent MAKS International Airshow in Moscow.
Although the general did not say how many Flankers he would like the buy, we at Airheadsfly.com believe that the 13 MiG-29s upgraded to BM standard in the early 2000s will stay a bit longer, while up to 18 Su-30SMs will be purchased. The number is based on earlier statements by the Belarusian military leadership.
Meanwhile the country’s rotary wing of 20 Mil Mi-35 attack helicopters and 5 Mi-26 heavy-lift choppers is expecting a boost with the arrival of 12 Mi-8MTV-5 choppers, the first six in 2016 and the second batch in 2017. They are an upgraded version of the 18 to 25 Mi-8/Mi-17s the Belarusian Air Force has already on strength and are expected to replace some of them.
Airlift and attack
One of the two Ilyushin IL-76 strategic airlifters is currently being brought back to airworthy status, while the second batch of four Yakovlev Yak-130 light attack and advanced jet trainers has been ordered some time ago. The backbone of the Belarusian Air Force’s ground attack capacity, between 40 and 68 operational Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” jets, will remain in service – as well as two to four Antonov An-26 transport aircraft and a handful of Mil Mi-2 utility helicopters.
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.
Belarus is making its Yakovlev Yak-130 fleet larger by ordering another batch of four of these aircraft this week.
Belarus intends to use the Yak-130s not only as advanced jet trainers, but as light combat aircraft as well. The jets can carry up to 6630 lbs (3000 kg) of payload on nine external hardpoints. The Belarus jets have a green camouflage livery on top and a grey monotone paint on the bottom.