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10:25 AM, December 18, 2017
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Myanmar Yak-130 light combat aircraft

Myanmar has commissioned 10 military aircraft during a ceremony commemorating the 70 anniversary of the nation’s Air Force.

A total of 10 airplanes — six Yak-130s, two Fokker-70s and two ATR 42-320s — were put into operation at the morning ceremony, held at the Air Training School in Meiktila Station in Mandalay Region, Eleven Myanmar reported Saturday.

The military chief, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing stressed the vital importance of air power in the current era of asymmetric warfare around the world.

“The country needs superior air power to enhance the effectiveness of ground troops and bring about a battle victory in a conflict,” he said.

“The Tatmadaw must sharpen its combat prowess and power to become a modern armed force standing shoulder to shoulder with international counterparts. The Tatmadaw must turn out skilled pilots, technicians and gunners,” said Min Aung Hlaing.

Myanmar’s air force lagged a technological generation behind those of other countries in the region, he said.

During the event, airplanes and helicopters showed their skills in flight demonstrations. On November 8, the Tass news agency quoted a Russian military officer as saying that a light Yak-130 is worth about US$15 million (20.4 billion kyat) and that Myanmar had signed a sales contract in 2015 after three years of study.

Mikhali Petukhov, deputy director of Russia’s Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said that the first batch of three Yak-130s were sent to Myanmar in 2016 and three more followed in 2017.

He added that it was expected to send more in 2018.

Yak-130s are reportedly being used in Algeria, Bangladesh Belarus, Russia and Syria.

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