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Vietnam receives first batch of Yak-130s

16th November 2021 - 20:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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Vietnam has received its first delivery of Yak-130s. The aircraft pictured here is in the manufacturer’s colours. (Gordon Arthur)

Vietnam appears on course to receive all its Yak-130 aircraft by the end of 2021.

The Vietnam People’s Air Force (VPAF) has received a first batch of six Yak-130 advanced jet trainers from Russia.

Vietnamese media claimed that the first aircraft arrived at Phu Cat Air Base in Binh Dinh Province on 13 November. Photos showed that the Yak-130s have a similar camouflage scheme to Su-30MK2s already in VPAF service.

Vietnam reportedly ordered a dozen Yak-130s for approximately $350 million in 2019, the price tag including weapons, training and after-sales support.

Dmitry Shugaev, the head of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, earlier noted that deliveries of the aircraft would be completed this year.

Shugaev added that Hanoi is interested in buying the Su-30 fighter and Yak-152 basic trainer too. Then again, the US believes its T-6C Texan II is in pole position to win a basic trainer aircraft contract in Vietnam.

The Yak-130s will allow replacement of ageing Czech-manufactured Aero Vodochody L-39s in the VPAF. It is unclear which unit will operate the Yak-130, with both the 940th and 915th Aviation Training Regiments being listed as possibilities.

VPAF pilots currently learn to fly on Yak-52s of the 920th Air Training Regiment at Cam Ranh, before moving on to the L-39 for more advanced training.

Shephard previously reported that Vietnam is also buying 12 new L-39NG jets powered by FJ44-4M engines from Williams International. Deliveries should occur in 2023-24. The L-39NG will presumably act as an intermediate jet trainer, while the Yak-130 will be a lead-in fighter trainer that can also act as a ground attack aircraft.

Russia is the largest arms supplier to Vietnam.

The Yak-130 is also in service or on order in Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Laos, Myanmar and Russia.

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