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12:00 PM, April 5, 2017
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Vietnam To Set Up New Division For Supersonic Fighter pilot Training
yakovlev yak-130 trainer jet

Vietnam People’s Air Force (VPAF) has plans to set up a new division dedicated to supersonic fighter pilot training.

Plans are afoot to purchase trainer jet aircraft for the purpose such as the Yak-152 combt-trainer and the Yak-130 basic trainer.

VPAF acquired 36 Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighters between 2004 and 2016. Before this year, the VPAF sent its prospective Su-30 pilots to Russia for training. But it has now turned to the Indian Air Force for this task, after the two countries signed a new defense agreement in December 2016.

“We have been equipping ourselves with state-of-the-art fighters in recent years, but our training system still consists of the old Yak-52 and L-39,” said VPAF Commander Lieutenant General Lê Huy Vịnh at a pilot training conference held in Hanoi.

“The operational conversion of pilots after their graduation therefore places a challenge on the combat units,” he was quoted as saying by AINonline Tuesday.

The Vietnam People’s Air Force (VPAF) needs a new jet for training. The service is close to selecting the Russian Yak-130. However, there is also a possibility that the Czech-built Aero Vodochody L-39NG is also be in contention.

Vietnam currently has 22 Yak-52 and 34 L-39C/Z in the service. Viktor Chernov, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) deputy director general for marketing and sales, said the company is now offering packaged training solutions to potential customers. These include the new piston-engine Yak-152 trainer with diesel or petrol options, as well as the Yak-130.

“Countries that operate Russian-origin fighters will find it easy for their pilots to transition from the Yak-130,” he added.

The Yak-130 has a glass cockpit and a fly-by-wire system from Avionica that can simulate the flying characteristics of Russian and Western bloc aircraft, including the MiG-29, Su-27, Su-30, F-15 and F-16. It is also able to simulate the handling conditions of aircraft in supersonic speeds, despite having  of top speed of only Mach 0.85.

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