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LE BOURGET, June 18. /TASS/. Russia may re-configure its combat training plane Yakovlev-130 into a fighter-bomber for those foreign customers who may wish to have it, the chief delegate of Russia’s weapons exporter Rosoboronexport, Sergey Kornev, said at the Le Bourget air show on Thursday.
"If they ask us for a fighter bomber, we may offer the Sukhoi-32. But if some client wants to have this plane (Yakovlev-130) and nothing else, some time and effort will be required for coping with such a request, but it is quite realistic," Kornev said.
He pointed out that Yakovlev-130 had a very vast potential for conversion from a combat training plane into an attack aircraft and that it would acquire the capability to carry smart weapons sooner or later.
At this point, Kornev said, the foreign customers were interested in the Yakovlev-130 as a combat training plane.
The Yakovlev-130 jet (Mitten according to the NATO classification) is meant for training pilots for generation 4+ and generation 5 aircraft. It performed its maiden flight back in 1996. In 2002 it was selected as the main plane for training Russian Air Force pilots. Some are manufactured for export. Algeria already operates its own fleet of Yakovlev-130s. Supplies to Bangladesh are underway. Belarus has purchased them, too.