A state-of-the-art combat jet used to train Russian Air Force fighter pilots will give a rarely-seen demonstration of its light attack capabilities at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.
The display will be the first time anyone outside of Russia has seen a display by the Yak-130 'Mitten' in its light attack configuration with a full complement of weapons.
The Yak-130, which will come from the Irkut Corporation based in Moscow, is a two-seat, subsonic jet trainer/light attack aircraft. It entered service with the Russian Air Force in 2010. The aircraft can replicate the characteristics of the latest generation fighters and carries a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry.
The participation of the Yak-130 in July's display cements the Air Tattoo's reputation for showcasing aircraft from Russia, which began in 1992 when a Su-27P 'Flanker' 595 and Tu-134 appeared at Boscombe Down followed, in 1993, by two Mig-29s and the Tu-95MS 'Bear' at RAF Fairford.
The first of 55 Yak-130s ordered by the Russian Defence Ministry entered service with the Russian Air Force in 2010. RuAF Commander-in-Chief Col Gen Alexander Zelin announced in March that a new aerobatics team flying Yak-130s would be created by 2015.
Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: To have such a rare Russian aircraft display is quite a coup and simply adds to what is already shaping up to be quite a spectacular display. We know how much aircraft enthusiasts enjoy seeing Russian aircraft and Russian-built aircraft at Fairford and we work hard to achieve this. This year's Air Tattoo already has an abundance of aviation riches but now it seems the whole world wants to be at Fairford this July!
This year's Air Tattoo will see organisers join with the RAF to stage special aerial tributes celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. For further details, visit airtattoo.com or call 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.