The Uzbek government has reportedly entered negotiations with Russia on the potential purchase of the Yak-130 advanced jet trainer.
This week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu toured Irkut Corporation’s plant in Irkutsk, the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, to be briefed on the facility’s present activities and upcoming deliveries. In a report on the visit, Kommersant noted that among the potential customers for the Yak-130 is Uzbekistan, which, according to the publication, has entered dialogue with the Russian government on a potential buy.
Uzbekistan’s interest in the Yak-130 has been previously been reported, but the country was not known to be actively engaged in dialogue on a potential deal for aircraft of the type. Kommersant did not indicate when the negotiations began or how many jets the Uzbek government is interested in. The negotiations are reportedly at an “early stage.”
Under the late President Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan had sought to procure the T-50 jet trainer aircraft from South Korea, but that sale was eventually blocked by the U.S., which was concerned about the possibility of technology leakage regarding the aircraft. The T-50 is made by both KAI and Lockheed Martin.
Tashkent had negotiated on the purchase of a dozen T-50s and would presumably be interested in at least a similar quantity of Yak-130s.
It is not clear whether Uzbekistan is considering other proposals for advanced jet trainers in addition to the Yak-130.