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Russian Air Force set to get 250 Yak-130 training planes

MOSCOW, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Air Force is looking to purchase 250 new Yak-130 aircraft to train pilots, a senior aviation official said Thursday.

The Yak-130 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 actively touted for export.

"We need 250 aircraft of this kind, which will account for 75% of the total training fleet, while the remainder will comprise the MiG-AT Miser combat trainer," Air Force Commander Vladimir Mikhailov said.

He said production would start in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, in addition to an already operating plant in the Volga region city of Nizhny Novgorod, to meet demand, and that four Yak-130 were undergoing flight testing.

"The tests are successful and there is no doubt the production of these aircraft will increase," Mikhailov said.

Testing, including spin and combat tactics trials, will be completed this year prior to delivery of the planes to the Air Force.

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