May 21, 2007

Russia's 5th-generation fighter jet to take off on time - commander

MOSCOW. May 21 (Interfax) - The fifth-generation fighter jet will take off at the appropriate time, Russian Air Force Commander Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said on Monday.

"The deadline has been set, and no one has changed it," he said.

"The military industrial commission for the fifth-generation jet will meet tomorrow, and I will take active part in that meeting," Zelin said.

Russian Air Force to procure new Yak-130 trainers
15:30 | 21/ 05/ 2007

MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Air Force is planning to commission over 200 Yak-130 combat trainers, the Air Force commander said Monday.

"The Russian Air Force has selected its [future] combat trainer, namely the Yak-130," the new Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Alexander Zelin said. "We will need over 200 aircraft [of this type]."

The Yak-130 single-seat aircraft 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 marketed for export.

"It is an excellent combat trainer with superior performance features," Zelin said, adding that the plane is now undergoing joint state tests.

"There are still some problems with the engines, but I think we will receive the final assessment on this aircraft by the end of the year," the commander said.

On July 26, 2006, a Yak-130 crashed in the Ryazan Region, about 150 miles southeast of Moscow, after a failure in the flight control system. But the Russian Defense Ministry later reaffirmed its plans to buy new Yak-130 planes regardless of the crash.

The Yak-130 is a highly maneuverable aircraft with an extended range of about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and a maximum speed of 1,060 km/h (600 mp/h) in level flight. It can carry a combat payload of up to 3,000 kg (6,600 pounds), consisting of a variety of Russian and Western developed weapons.

The new aircraft will replace the L-39 Albatros trainer currently in service with the Russian Air Force.

Two Navy bomber regiments to join Air Force in 2008
14:52 | 21/ 05/ 2007

MOSCOW, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - Two regiments of Tu-22M Backfire strategic bombers currently under Navy command are set to become part of the Russian Air Force by the end of 2008, a senior Air Force official said Monday.

"We are planning to reassign two regiments of naval strategic bombers, which will join the 37th Air Army of the Strategic Command as part of major structural and organizational changes to bring the status of long-range aviation to a strategic level," the newly appointed Chief of the Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov, said.

At present, the regiments are involved in joint combat training with strategic aviation units of the Russian Air Force, he said.

Khvorov, the former commander of the 37th Air Army, said March 5 that Russia's strategic aviation has sufficient potential to suppress elements of a U.S. missile defense shield should it be deployed in Central Europe.

The Tu-22M is a supersonic, swing-wing strategic bomber with a maximum range of 4,000 miles and a speed of over Mach 2. The aircraft can cruise at low altitudes and penetrate highly defended airspace with a quick supersonic dash.

According to experts, its range allows the bomber to attack all of Japan, and even some areas in Alaska. It can carry cruise missiles equipped with nuclear warheads.

Russia reportedly has 124 Tu-22M bombers in service with the Air Force and 58 deployed by the Navy.

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