The Lao People’s Liberation Army Air Force (LPLAAF) has received the batch of three Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft from Russia. The present-day LPLAAF is descended from the Aviation Laotienne, which was established by the French and later became the Royal Lao Air Force. The first Yak-130 trainer aircraft for Laos was delivered to Vientiane airfield on December 20, 2018 on board of the IL-76TD transport aircraft (registration number RA-78765) of the Russian airline Aviakon Citotrans. Yak-130 advanced jet trainer aircraft have Lao tail numbers “044”, “045” and “046”.
The Yakovlev Yak-130 (NATO reporting name: Mitten) is a subsonic two-seat advanced jet trainer and light fighter originally developed by Yakovlev and Aermacchi. It has also been marketed as a potential light attack aircraft. Development of the plane began in 1991 and the maiden flight was conducted on 25 April 1996. In 2002, it won a Russian government tender for training aircraft and in 2009 the aircraft entered service with the Russian Air Force. As an advanced training aircraft, the Yak-130 is able to replicate the characteristics of several 4+ generation fighters as well as the fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57. It can also perform light-attack and reconnaissance duties, carrying a combat load of 3,000 kg.