SHAH ALAM: Keeping up with the Joneses. It appears that Vietnam has taken delivery six out of 12 Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten advanced jet trainers it ordered from Russia in 2020. The order was finalised in late 2019 but only confirmed in late 2020.
The delivery of the aircraft have been in doubt as it would breached of a US law regarding procurement of Russian made major weapons systems enacted following the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and alleged interference in US elections in 2016. The US administration can decide not to action against the countries involved though.
The deliveries of the Yak-130s were published in various social media posts from Vietnam over the weekend and no official announcement been made by both countries nor the US. One of the social media commentators, Lee An Quan posted today:
“More good news”
As the Yak-130 contract of Vietnam People Air Force progresses, more details about the future training fleet surface:
-A reformed 940th Regiment would handle Yak-130.
-910th Regiment, the current training formation, would get L-39NG as replacement for L-39C.
As mentioned above, Vietnam is also getting the Czech L-39NG advanced jet trainer for its air force to replace the older L-39Cs. Apart from the jet trainers, Vietnam is also buying three Beechcraft T-6C Texan II turboprop trainer/light-attack aircraft. The country is also getting a “total package approach” to establish, operate, and sustain a “modern undergraduate pilot training” (UPT) programme based on the USAF pilot training model. Vietnam is also expected to purchase more T-6 trainers in the near future after the first three are delivered in 2023.
Perhaps that is that the reason the US administration is waiving the sanctions though the US Congress could over rule the decision.
In other news, Thailand has become the launch customer for the AT-6 Wolverine, the light attack variant of the Texan II it was announced on Nov. 14, 2021. The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) ordered eight AT-6TH for US$143 million which covers the Wolverine aircraft, ground support equipment, spare parts, training and other equipment. Training of maintenance personnel will start in Thailand in 2023 and pilot training will commence in Wichita in 2024. Delivery of aircraft will start in 2024. RTAF has already ordered 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II trainers in Sept. 28, 2020. The US$162 million contract covers the Texan II aircraft,training, spares and support services.
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There are talks of selling F-16s to Vietnam, more carrier fleet visits to Da Nang, so dropping the CAATSA banhammer onto them would be counterintuitive in the long run.
I may be optimistic, but I suspect CAATSA won’t be used against us unless we get a despot like Duterte as PM.
As I posted before we have been told that it was ok to buy spares for stuff already in service but no new stuff
The Yak-130 seems to be best replacement for our BAE Hawks.
Twin engines, made by Ukraine firm.
Long service record in 8 countries.
Can do the same roles as Hawk, so less adaptation needed to our strategy.
None of our rival neighbors use it.
Faux – ”The Yak-130 seems to be best replacement for our BAE Hawks.”
A lot of things ”seem” good on paper.  Do its engines, avionics and other components have a TBO/MTBF comparable to its competitors? What level of integration will it require for non Russian components?  How much does it cost to operate per hour of flight?  Does it actually meet our LIFT requirements? Just because it does for others doesn’t necessarily make it the same for us.
Faux – ”None of our rival neighbors use it.”
We have neighbours we have longstanding unresolved issues with but none are ”rivals” per see.
Vietnam is our rival in SCS, they do operate the Yak 130