Russia plans to send the initial batch of the Yakovlev Yak-130 jet trainers to Syria until the end of 2014, with further plans to fully complete the contract for 36 aircraft in 2016, the Kommersant newspaper wrote Monday, citing a source close to Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport.
Damascus will receive nine aircraft until the end of this year, and in the next two years - 12 and 15 respectively, according to the informant.
“Thus, we will fulfill obligations under a previously signed contract for the supply of 36 Yak-130 jets,” the newspaper quoted the source.
Last June, Kommersant wrote that Syria had transferred some $100 million of advance payment to Russia for the first six Yak-130 jets under a contract signed in December 2011. At that moment all Yak-130s were ready, waiting only for a political decision to install engines and avionics, and then to be sent to Syria, according to the RIA Novosti source back in the days.
Syria has been facing an internal armed conflict since March 2011. Russia has repeatedly stated that it supplies the country only with defensive weapons without violating international law.
The Yakovlev Yak-130 is a subsonic two-seat advanced jet trainer/light attack aircraft or lead-in fighter trainer originally developed by Yakovlev and Aermacchi.
Development of the plane began in 1991, and the maiden flight was conducted on 26 April 1996.
In 2005, the Yak-130 won a Russian government tender for training aircraft, and in 2009 the first planes entered service with the Russian Air Force.
As an advanced training aircraft, the Yak-130 is able to replicate the characteristics of several 4+ generation fighters as well as the fifth-generation Sukhoi PAK FA. It can also perform light-attack and reconnaissance duties, carrying a combat load of 3,000 kg.
Source: RIA Novosti; Wikipedia