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    Russian to buy Yak-130s despite trainer crash - minister

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    NIZHNY NOVGOROD, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's defense minister said Wednesday that Air Force would buy new Yak-130 planes regardless of a recent trainer crash.

    On July 26, a Yak-130 crashed in the Ryazan Region, about 150 miles southeast of Moscow, after a failure in the flight control system. Both pilots were slightly injured after ejecting.

    Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, said: "The Defense Ministry confirms its plan to purchase the first 12 Yak-130 planes by the end of 2007. Supplies of Yak-130s to [Air Force] units will start after the aircraft is commissioned in early 2008. "

    The Yak-130 single-seat aerobatic airplane can be used as a light strike aircraft or as a trainer for fourth and fifth generation fighters. With a production line launched in May 2003, the plane is also being marketed for export.

    In mid-June, Russian Air Force officials said they were looking to purchase 250 new Yak-130 aircraft to train pilots.

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