Syria is looking to acquire up to 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 jet from Russia on a $550 million deal. The news was announced on Monday by the Kommersant newspapers via the Moscow Times citing sources at Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms export agency.
Advanced Fast Jet Training System
The 2-seats Yakovlev Yak-130 modern Lead-In Fighter/Advanced Jet Trainer is a very effective fighter trainer solution using a tandem instructor/trainee seating arrangement. The aircraft is very versatile training proposition by offering the ability to simulate on-board systems of many 4th and even 5th generation fighter aircraft via software re-configuration. As such it offers air arms the ability to inexpensively prepare its pilots to transition to any aircraft such as F-15, F-16, F-22, F-35, also including popular fighter aircraft like the Mirage 2000. Accordingly the Yak-130 digital fly-by-wire system can be configured to mimic the flight characteristics of some of these aircraft. Naturally the Russian Air Force which has ordered 55 such aircraft, will deploy it in training role supporting the transition to advanced variant of the Mig-29 and Sukhoi-27 family of aircraft.
Combat Role With Syria
Syria would also likely take greater advantage of the aircraft additional capabilities in an armed reconnaissance/ground attack role. The aircraft can actually offer a very potent fighter/attack/combat capability. When deployed for that purpose it is equipped with B-8 multiple rocket pods or even advanced Russian IR and TV guided air-to-ground precision weapons. The aircraft modern system architecture allows weapon’s store interfacing with advanced targeting sensors for both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. The air-to-air and air-to-ground ammunition are attached to 8 under wing pylons and one fuselage-centered attachment point. Fully equipped and thanks to its two 5,500 lbs (2,500 kg) thrust turbofans, the Yak-130 carries up to 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg) of weapons at subsonic speed (maximum speed 660 mph-1,060 km/h). Operated via its complex digital fly-by-wire the aircraft offers superb handling, ‘controllability’ and maneuverability.
Mission Systems Architecture And Sensors
The integrated on-board systems main functions (navigation, mission, sensors, weapons release, aircraft systems) are presented to the crew on Multi Function Liquid Crystal Displays and allow the aircraft to operate and simulate modern combat scenario such as detection, tracking, targeting and engagement of aerial and ground targets using Infra Red (heat seeking) homing or radar guided (semi active) missiles. The aircraft is primarily marketed as fitted with the Osa multimode radar offering the capability to simultaneously engage 4 air threats while tracking 8 at ranges of up to 54 miles (85 km) for flight vehicles whose radar cross section (RCS) is 15 squared feet (5 square meter). For ground attack missions, the Osa radar will track 2 targets simultaneously. The other 2 radars optionally offered by Rosoboronexport for use on the Yak-130 are the Kopyo-21I and Kopyo-M for dual air-to-air and air-to-ground offensive employment. Against air threats these radars are both capable of attacking two targets simultaneously while tracking 8 for the -21I and 10 for the -M. In air-to-ground mode the Kopyo will detect and track 2 moving or stationary targets using enhanced sensor features such as ground mapping zooming at ranges varying from 12.5 miles (20 km) to 50 miles ( 80 km).
This move by Russia would offer critical support for Syria’s embattled President Bashar Al Assad at a time when the international community seeks to impose an arms embargo against its regime following almost a year of violent crackdown against protesters.