Laos is interested in buying the Yak-130 to bring their Air force up to the 21st century. The Yak-130 is dual use combat aircraft that doubles as a jet trainer and a light attack aircraft. During the Singapore Airshow in 2016, sources have said that Laos is looking to buy the Yak-130 to replace the aging and unused MiG-21’s. With the Yak-130’s attractive price tag at $15 million dollars each. Laos is looking to buy 16 to 20 Yak-130’s for pilot training and light attack.
The Yak-130 is perfect for Laos because it’s a two seat, advance jet trainer and a light attack aircraft. With Lao’s geography, the Yak-130 would help bring Laos into the 20th century and train a pool of pilots for future aircraft such as the JF-17, MiG-29, SU-27, The Hongdu L-15 Falcon, Guizhou JL-9 or even western aircraft such as F/A-50 Golden Eagles or F-16’s. This aircraft is perfect for them because it get’s them trained and introduce’s them future aircraft along the pipeline. What the Yak-130 gives Laos is not only an advance jet trainer but also a Light attack aircraft capable of point defense and recon duties. The Yak-130 would help them in securing their Airspace as well.
Here’s a Promo video on the Yak-130
Here’s what the Yak-130 is capable of doing for Laos.
When I heard that Laos is interested in buying the Yak-130, it shocked me because Laos doesn’t have many pilots that are capable of flying this kind of aircraft and I wondered who is bankrolling Laos into buying the Yak-130. I have to suspect that It’s either China, Vietnam or America that is bankrolling Laos to buy the Yak-130. Though I have a high suspicion that Vietnam is bankrolling the sale because Laos is close to Vietnam and they have a good working relationship. I also think that Vietnam is possibly training pilots from Laos as well.
Though in my view, the Yak-130 is perfect for Laos because it gives them a cost effective aircraft that introduces them to future aircraft and they have something for CAS, LAS and Advance Pilot training.