Belarus has ordered new combat aircraft from Russia, the commander of Belarus’ Air Force and Air Defence Forces has stated.
Major General Oleg Dvigalev told reporters that the country has signed two contracts for four Yakolev Yak-130 ‘Mitten’ trainer/strike aircraft and confirmed than an order for 12 Mil Mi-8MTV-5 ‘Hip’ helicopters had been signed in June, the BelTA news agency reported on 12 August.
The order for four Yak-130s will bring the country’s total to eight aircraft, following the delivery of four Yak-130s ordered in 2012 to Belarus in April. Maj Gen Dvigalev stated that “four instructor pilots are already preparing the 116th assault air base to fly the Yak-130”, adding that “about 10 pilots will be prepared this year”. He noted that by 2020 the Yak-130 will have entirely replaced the Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross in Belorussian service.
Maj Gen Dvigalev noted that in addition to the two procurement contracts, the country has signed contracts for the repair and overhaul of six Mi-24 ‘Hind’ combat helicopters and their engines, and the overhaul of one of Belarus’ Ilyishin Il-76 ‘Candid’ transport aircraft. Additionally the country has completed the overhaul of an Antonov An-26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft, a Mi-26 ‘Halo’ helicopter, and the engines for eight of its MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighter aircraft that are being overhauled. Two L-39s and two Su-25UBK ‘Frogfoot’ strike aircraft are also currently being overhauled.