Myanmar has put into service six Yakovlev Yak-130 twin-engine trainer and light attack aircraft ordered from Russia in 2015, becoming the second operator of the type in Asia.

Six more Yak-130s will be delivered next year, Tass news agency quotes the Russian state export corporation as saying.

Since 1998 Myanmar’s air force has relied upon 24 Avic Hongdu K-8 and three Soko G-4 jet trainers to train combat pilots. The higher performance of the Yak-130 will be better suited to training pilots for the air force’s 20 MiG-29s.

The other Asian Yak-130 operator is Bangladesh, which has 15 units from an order for 16.

Myanmar military chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing commissioned the new trainers and four transport aircraft on Dec. 15 at the Meiktila Air Base, 130 km (70 mi.) north of the capital, Naypyidaw, says the air force.

The transports are two Fokker 70 regional jets and two ATR 42-320 turboprop airliners.

The Fokker 70s must have been bought secondhand, since the type has been out of production since 1997. 

All four transport aircraft are likely to be used for VIP flights, as are other ATRs that the air force has in service. Before the latest inductions, the air force had three ATR 42s and a single ATR 72, according to the Aviation Week World Aerospace Database.

Yak-130s have a 30-mm cannon and can be armed with guided and unguided munitions. 

Other Yak-130 operators include Algeria, Belarus and Kazakhstan.