AIRCRAFT

Yak-130 (Yakolev)

The Yak-130 is a slightly swept-wing advanced pilot training and light attack/reconnaissance aircraft built in Russia. It is known to be stationed at Mandalay and Hmawbi. It has been spotted at Shante (Meiktila) airbase. 18 planes are believed to have been purchased, but a total of 20 have been accounted for. The Yak-130 mounts a GSh-23-L 23mm autocannon on its underbelly hardpoint, and it is equipped with 8 additional underwing hardpoints, allowing it to carry up to 3000 kg of ordnance. Its maximum speed is 1060 knots, and its maximum range is 1600 (2100 with two external fuel tanks) nautical miles. It has a length of 11.493m, a wingspan of 9.84m, and a height of 4.76m. Yak-130s in MAF service sport a distinctive three-tone blue livery.

Name
Type
Engine
Main Armament
Hardpoints
Payload / kg
Max Speed / knots
Max Range / nm
Max Range EFT / nm
Length / m
Wingspan / m
Height / m
Yak-130 (Yakolev)
Advanced pilot training / light attack aircraft
AI-222-25 bypass turbofan; twin-engine
GSh-23-L 23mm autocannon
9
3000
1060
1600
2100 (2)
11.49
9.84
4.76
Yak-130 on the tarmac
Yak-130 on the tarmac

One of six newly-commissioned MAF Yak-130 on the tarmac during the 74th anniversary ceremony of the Myanmar air force at Meiktila air base on 15 December 2021.

press to zoom
Yak-130s in flight
Yak-130s in flight

Three MAF Yak-130 performing a fly-by during the 74th anniversary ceremony of the Myanmar air force at Meiktila air base on 15 December 2021.

press to zoom
Yak-130 on the tarmac
Yak-130 on the tarmac

One of six newly-commissioned MAF Yak-130 on the tarmac during the 74th anniversary ceremony of the Myanmar air force at Meiktila air base on 15 December 2021.

press to zoom
1/2

Bases

Capabilities

Despite its primary design being for training, the Yak-130 is also marketed with light attack capabilities. These abilities have been fully exploited by the Myanmar Air Force. It has seven hardpoints under the wings and a further two under the fuselage with a maximum payload of 3000kg. Verified footage shows the Myanmar military using Yak-130 jets to fire unguided rockets and its 23mm cannon on and around civilian-populated areas. The Yak-130 can employ three types of rocket: the S-13B 122mm Rocket (Penetrator), the S-24B 240mm Rocket (Blast Fragmentation), and the S-8KO 80mm Rocket (HEAT).

Procurement

Myanmar reportedly signed a purchase agreement with  Russia on 22 June 2015 to acquire Yak-130 aircraft. The precise number of  aircraft delivered with each batch varies, but allegedly amounts to 18. Myanmar Witness has confirmed that six were introduced in MAF service in 2017 (possibly the first ever batch of Yak-130 to be commissioned). Six more were commissioned in 2019. Following the 2021 coup, Russia expressed its intent to continue to support the Myanmar military and to supply further Yak-130 jets. On 15 December 2021, six additional Yak-130 jets were commissioned – like the previously-mentioned batches – at Shante airbase, in Meiktila (မိတ္ထီလာမြို့).

Significant Events

A chronological order of events involving the Yak-130 in Myanmar.

  • Unknown date before 28 May 2020: The first available footage which allegedly shows the Yak-130 in combat  in Rakhine State against insurgents. This footage is currently unverified by Myanmar Witness. Multiple unguided rockets are seen being fired.

  • 10 February 2022: High-resolution satellite imagery obtained from Maxar by Japan Broadcasting  Corporation  (NHK) and  exclusively  analysed  by  Myanmar  Witness shows a Yak-130 on the northern runway (17.120503, 96.082530) at Hmawbi (ေမာ်ဘီ) airbase, Yangon. The jet appears to be carrying PTB-450 additional External Fuel Tanks, potentially suggesting it was photographed before or after a sortie. The six hangars close to where the Yak-130 is spotted (20.166575, 94.967130) were built in November 2021 - less than one month prior to the delivery of  six  Yak-130s  on  15  December  2021.  These hangars appear to be of the same design and dimensions as those in the Mandalay (မ ေလး ) airbase (21.682378, 95.985175), where the Yak-130s are known to be stationed.

  • 18 February 2022: Two Yak-130 aircraft (believed to be tail numbers 1802 and 1803) were damaged when a bomb was detonated nearby at Hmawbi (ေမာ်ဘီ) Air Force Headquarters. It is believed that the attack was carried out by the People's Defence Force (PDF - Yangon)

  • 21 February 2022: Confidential footage obtained from Free Burma Rangers and exclusively  analysed  by  Myanmar  Witness  shows  at  least  1  Yak-130  allegedly participating in an operation in the Nam Mae Kon area (နန်းမယ်ခံ), west of Loikaw, in Kayah State.

  • 27 March 2022: During the 77th Armed Forces Day military parade in Naypyitaw (ေနြပည်ေတာ်), Myanmar, five Yak-130s were spotted flying overhead together, as well as an additional two Yak-130s with three Chinese-made K-8s.

  • 10 April 2022: Facebook footage uploaded by Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) group Cobra Column and analysed by Myanmar Witness shows a Yak-130  flying  overhead  during  a  combat  mission  over  Lay  Kay  Kaw  Myothit (ေလးေက့ေကာ်မိသစ်). Audio depicts explosions and gunfire, while the early seconds of the video show a trail of black smoke behind the Yak-130’s wings: is typical of unguided rockets fired from underwing pods.

  • 11  April  2022:  The  Cobra  Column  additionally  shared a high-resolution image  allegedly depicting the aircraft participating in a military operation in the early hours of 11 April 2022. Myanmar Witness has identified the aircraft as a Yak-130.

  • 12 April 2022: Images from the following day posted by the same KNLA group show spent 23mm ammunition casings collected from the ground. Myanmar Witness suspects that  these  rounds  may  have  been  manufactured  in  Serbia  in  1989  based  on  the cartridge  stamps  –  which  indicate  the  manufacturing  company’s  initials,  year  of production  and  calibre  (however  further  verification  is  required  to  confirm  this information). It is important to note that the Yak-130 is not the only aircraft in MAF inventory equipped with a 23mm cannon.

  • 18 May 2022: Footage surfaced of a Yak-130 firing its 23mm cannon and unguided rockets  near  Thay  Baw  Boe  (ေသ့ေဘာဘိးေကျးရွာ),  south  of  Myawaddy  (ြမဝတီ). Myanmar Witness is currently in the process of collecting more information about this attack, but it is believed to be in response to KNLA forces attacking the Thae Baw Boe (ေသ့ေဘာဘိးေကျးရွာ) army base. The video shows  a coordinated air-to-ground strike operation involving several different aircraft platforms: an ATR-42 (verified; believed to be operating in a reconnaissance capacity), two K-8s (verified; likely conducting airstrikes), at least one  Mi-35  attack  helicopter  (verified;  conducting  airstrikes),  a  MiG-29  (unverified; possibly conducting airstrikes), and there were claims that a CH-3 RPAS was also used (unverified; possibly for reconnaissance).

  • 30 May 2022: Images depict several pieces of ordnance which Myanmar Witness has identified as the remains of S-8 unguided aerial rockets. The rockets, together  with  other  air-dropped  munitions  also  captured  by  the  photographs,  were allegedly  fired by three  aircraft  which attacked  a  PDF  camp  in  Sagaing (စစ်ကိင်းတိင်းေဒသ$ကီ) on 5 May 2022. The Yak-130 is not the only aircraft in MAF service equipped with S-8 rockets.

  • 27-28 June 2022: a Facebook video shared by Khit Thit Media shows at least one Yak-130 performing two passes and launching several salvos of unguided rockets towards the ground. A second video, uploaded by KNLA group Cobra Column on 4 July – and allegedly filmed on the 27 and 28 of June – shows at least one Yak-130 performing at least five passes and firing around 18 salvos of unguided rockets. The aerial attack was allegedly carried out in the area south of Myawaddy Township (ြမဝတီမိနယ်) in Karen State. Myanmar Witness has been able to geolocate the two videos, which were filmed from the same location (16.291986, 98.664069), just 200m from the Thailand-Myanmar border. Myanmar Witness has previously seen a number of reports of fighting, as well as evidence of a number of IDPs originating from this area.

  • 10 August 2022: Facebook video shows a Yak-130 filmed from Zokhawthar (23.364256, 93.383336), Mizoram State, India, while flying on the Burmese side of the border, women and children are heard screaming in the background.

  • 19 November 2022: Facebook video shows a Yak-130 firing towards the ground, allegedly in Tibual, Falam (ဖလမ်းမြို့), Chin State.

  • 21 November 2022: Several Facebook videos show at least one Yak-130 flying, allegedly over Mon State, as explosions are heard.

Identification

The Yak-130 can be identified most easily by its silhouette. Its wings have a swept forward edge, leading into a “shelf” over the air intakes along the sides of the fuselage. Three hardpoints per wing may be visible in closer footage. The rear horizontal stabilisers extend beyond the rudder on the vertical stabiliser. The jet nozzles sit under the vertical and horizontal stabilisers.Yak-130s have a notably large canopy that extends far forward.

🟡 tall vertical stabiliser

🟢 almost delta-shaped wings; extended wing roots

🔵 large air intakes; slanted fuselage

🔴 long, tall, twin-seat canopy

🟡 tall vertical stabiliser; horizontal stabiliser above and after nozzle

🔴 long, tall, twin-seat canopy

🟡 tall vertical stabiliser; cuts on horizontal stabiliser; horizontal stabiliser above and after nozzle

🟢 almost delta-shaped wings

🔴 long, tall, twin-seat canopy

🟡 cuts on horizontal stabiliser

🟢 almost delta-shaped wings, four hardpoints each; extended wing roots

🔵 large air intakes; slanted fuselage

Tail Numbers

The Yak-130 in Myanmar uses the 18XX tail number format. The identified tail numbers go from 1800 until 1820, suggesting that the total number of Yak-130 aircraft delivered is 20. Currently 15 out of the 20 tail numbers have been sighted in online images.

table of tail numbers of MiG-29 in Myanmar