Two Bangladesh Air Force Yak-130 ‘Mitten’ trainer jets crashed after collision on Dec. 27 night at Maheshkhali Island in Cox’s Bazar district, 292 km southeast of capital Dhaka, said Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Bangladesh Army.
Lt. Col. Md Rashidul Hasan, director of the ISPR, said the twin-seat training planes, being flown by flight cadets, crashed around 6:30 p.m. local time about 15 minutes after they lost contact with radar.
He added that the planes burst into flames after the mid-air collision and all four pilots ejected safely. As per the reports, the accident happened during the breaking of formation at a training exercise.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
This is the second crash involving Bangladesh Air Force’s (BAF) Russian-made Yak-130 aircraft this year. On 11 July, an aircraft of the type crashed at Lohagara in Bangladesh’s southeastern Chittagong District. Two pilots were unharmed in the incident.
Bangladesh is the third export customer for the Russian made Yak-130, which features a re-programmable flight control system able to emulate behavior and handling qualities of various types. It has a secondary role as a light attack aircraft.
The BAF had operated a total of 15 Yak-130UBS advanced jet trainers/light attack aircraft including the two involved in the crash.
Yakovlev Yak-130 (NATO reporting name: Mitten) is a subsonic two-seat advanced jet trainer originally developed by Russia’s Yakovlev and Italy’s Aermacchi.
In 2000, differences in priorities between the two firms had brought about an end to the partnership, with each developing the aircraft independently. The Italian version was named Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master.
The Yak-130 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.