The Yak-152, a new initial light trainer aircraft for the Russian Aerospace Forces, has concluded its joint state trials, according to the Russian Public Joint Stock Company Yakovlev. Yakovlev informed RIA Novosti on January 19 that state joint tests of the Yak-152 were concluded by the end of 2023, as previously authorised. The primary flight characteristics of the aircraft were validated throughout these evaluations.
According to the company spokesman, the engine, propeller, and other aircraft components with Russian equivalents will be tested in the “near term” during the project’s next development stage.
Yakovlev is contemplating two primary alternatives to replace the German engine on the new Yak-152 training aircraft. According to RIA Novosti, which cited the company’s press service, these alternatives are the import substitution of the existing power unit or the adaptation of the VK-650 helicopter engine.
United Engine Corporation (UEC) has ordered ten VK-650V helicopter engines for test purposes. Four of these will be used in flight trials aboard the “Ansat” helicopter. The engine, manufactured by UEC-Klimov, a company based in St. Petersburg, is intended for special and multipurpose helicopters with a maximum launch weight of 4 tonnes. The Russians assert that the VK-650V will have superior specific characteristics and greater takeoff capability than its foreign counterparts. The engine’s design permits its use in unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and as part of a hybrid power system with minimal modification. The anticipated year of certification for the VK-650V engine is 2024.
Aviation engine developers and manufacturers able to resolve this issue from within Russia have been identified. Installing one of the two engines manufactured in Russia for the Yak-152 is presently under consideration, said the spokesperson. The representative of PJSC Yakovlev stated that modernising the current engine using Russian components is one option while adapting the VK-650 helicopter engine developed by UEC is the other.
Per his assertion, the organisation’s selection process for domestic equivalents is motivated by the imperative to maintain the Yak-152’s already attained flight-technical attributes while simultaneously guaranteeing optimal standardisation of the engine compartment’s assembly and layout. This will enable Russia to reduce the quantity of further experimental trials.
The Yak-152 is complementary to the Yak-130 aircraft-based training and combat system. The cockpit information-control fields of the Yak-152 and Yak-130 are unified, and the system of training the Russian Airforce cadets involves the comprehensive use of two training aircraft—a piston at the outset of instruction and a jet training-combat aircraft to refine acquired skills—an ideal combination.
Plans to replace the engine were started even before the Western sanctions that were imposed on Russia in 2022 for its invasion of Ukraine. The CEO of the Petr Baranov-named Central Institute of Aviation Motors, Mikhail Gordin, announced in September 2021 that a Russian engine might be installed in the Yak-152, but not to replace the German RED A03T V12, but rather as an equivalent. With funding from the Russian holding company “Finam,” the RED A03 engine was developed in Germany under the leadership of Vladimir Raykhlin, a native of Russia.
The Yak-152 Trainer
The Yakovlev Design Bureau’s expertise in designing training aircraft was considered when developing the Yak-152. More than 22,000 training piston aircraft, including the UT-2, Yak-11, Yak-18, and Yak-52, have been built since 1935.
The Yak-152’s aerodynamic design guarantees a regulated “spin” and flight safety in the event of piloting errors.
Among the many competitive advantages of the Yak-152 aircraft and training complex are its ability to be stored without a hangar and to be based on airfields with low ground strength; additionally, it can fly in both simple and complex meteorological conditions day and night and last but not least, it uses a new diesel engine that runs on kerosene.
Ramenskoye Instrument Engineering Design Bureau has specifically developed onboard radio-electronic equipment.
The new training aircraft will comply with modern safety requirements. The Yak-152 will allow young pilots to practice manoeuvres such as entering and recovering from spins. The aircraft has an ultralight emergency escape system (KCAP-152) manufactured by the scientific production enterprise “Zvezda.”
In an emergency that prevents the continuation of the flight, the system ensures the crew’s rescue at 10 meters and above and a flight speed ranging from 70 to 400 km/h.
The Yak-152 is a single-engine monoplane with a classic aerodynamic layout, low-wing, and retractable tricycle landing gear. The maximum horizontal flight speed of the Yak-152 is up to 500 km/h, the ceiling is 4,000 m, the takeoff run is no more than 300 m, and the range is 1,500 km.
The Yak-152’s lifespan should be no less than 10,000 hours, 30 years, and 30,000 landings.
The Yak-152 has a two-seater cockpit arranged in a tandem scheme. One pilot can fly the aircraft from the front or rear of non-pressurised cabins equipped with heating and ventilation systems for in-flight air supply. The aircraft is designed for operation with a maximum operational overload of up to +9 and -7 g.
As of 2020, the Russian Ministry of Defense plans to procure 150 Yak-152 aircraft.
The overall needs of the Russian Ministry of Defense for training aircraft like the Yak-152 are estimated to be in the range of 250-300 units. Additionally, representatives of the Russian DOSAAF (Volunteer Society for Cooperation with the Army, Aviation, and Fleet) expressed their interest in acquiring over 100 of these training aircraft for their educational aviation centres.
It is anticipated that the Yak-152 will be in high demand in other organisations that provide first-flying training because it may be used for civilian purposes with the right modifications and adaptations.