Syria buys 36 Russian Yak-130 jets

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MOSCOW — The regime of President Bashar Assad has ordered Russian
military aircraft for the Syrian Air Force.

Russian industry sources said Syria has ordered the Yak-130 combat air
trainer from the Yakovlev Design Bureau. They said the Syrian Air Force
would receive 36 Yak-130 aircraft as part of a $550 million contract signed
in late December.

The Russian-made Yak-130 combat air trainer.

“This was certainly a big success by Russian leaders and defense
exporters,” Center for Analysis of Stategies and Technologies director Ruslan Pukhov said.

On Jan. 23, the Russian media reported the Yak-130 sale to Syria, the first by Moscow to the Middle East in 2012. In November, Russia supplied the Bastion coastal defense system and the Iskander-E long-range rocket to the Assad regime.

Neither the Kremlin nor Damascus reported the Yak-130 deal, signed by Russia’s state-owned arms export agency Rosoboronexport. Pukhov said the aircraft would not help Assad fight the revolt, which began in March 2011.

“The Yak-130 plane is superfluous for attacking insurgents,” Pukhov
said. “These aims can be served by cheaper planes.”

The Russian business daily Kommersant said Yakovlev’s parent company,
Irkut, was expected to accelerate the Yak-130 project. The newspaper,
quoting a Russian industry source, said the aircraft order could be
fulfilled within a short period.

“As soon as Syria transfers the advance to Russia, the factory will
immediately assume the assembly of the second set for Syria,” the source

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