NIZHNY NOVGOROD, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - Sokol, a Nizhny Novgorod-based aircraft maker, has started deliveries of new Yak-130 combat trainers to the Russian Air Force, the company said on Thursday.
The Yak-130 single-seat aircraft can be used as a light strike aircraft or as a trainer for fourth and fifth generation fighters. With its production line launched in May 2003, the plane is also being marketed for export.
"We delivered the first Yak-130 in late July, and it will be showcased at the MAKS-2009 air show [on August 18-23 near Moscow]," said Alexander Karezin, Sokol's general director.
In April 2002, the Yak-130 was chosen as a basic aircraft for Russian Air Force pilot training. Under an initial contract with the Defense Ministry, Sokol will deliver a total of 12 Yak-130s by the end of 2010.
The Russian Air Force is planning to commission about 200 Yak-130s to equip four air regiments in the future.
The Yak-130 is a highly maneuverable aircraft with an extended range of about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and a maximum speed of 1,060 km/h (600 m/h) in level flight. It can carry a combat payload of up to 3,000 kg (6,600 pounds), consisting of a variety of Russian and Western developed weapons.
According to Russian Air Force commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, the first Yak-130 trainers will be used for pilot training at the Krasnodar Military Flight School.
Russia will also start deliveries of 16 Yak-130s to Algeria in 2010.