Flight tests of Yak-130 training jet to begin in November

The test flight program for the first production model of the Yakovlev 130 training jet put together at the Nizhny Novgorod Aviation Plant Sokol (NAZ Sokol) will be launched in November, Mikhail Shibayev, director general of the Volga River company running the plant, told reporters on Friday.

The flight tests are to be completed in 2004-2005.

Production of the Yak-130 jet is a priority for Sokol. "We plan to launch that plane and to modify it in the future," the director said.

Shibayev said the Yak-130 would be presented at the Paris Air Show in June.

The light training jet is being created under a state contract the Yakovlev OKB signed with the Defense Ministry.

Yak-130 is dual-use aircraft, which can be used as training jet, or a light strike aircraft.

Used as a strike fighter, it could enable trainee pilots to fly any kind of fourth and fifth generation fighters.

It can carry up to 3 metric tons of modern weapons of any kind and delivers high performance in combat missions.

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