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Thailand interested in acquiring L-39NG training aircraft

13 November 2018
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A prototype L-39NG was rolled out during a ceremony at Aero Vodochody’s production facility near Prague on 12 October. TheThai MoD has shown interest in acquiring the aircraft, according to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced on 10 November that the Thai Ministry of Defence (MoD) has expressed interest in acquiring an undisclosed number of Aero Vodochody L-39NG jet trainers/light-attack aircraft.

“They [the Thais] are interested in our aircraft, the newest generation of aircraft, something which is considered to be hi-tech military technology,” Babis told reporters on 10 November following a meeting in Brussels earlier this month with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Babis is scheduled to visit Thailand in January when he intends to hold further talks with his Thai counterpart regarding the potential sale of the L-39NG, which was formally unveiled in mid-October, and the ongoing trade deficit between the Czech Republic and Thailand, which favours the latter.

According to Jane’s World Air Forces , the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) currently operates 24 L-39ZA Albatros aircraft, some of which are being replaced by 12 Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50TH Golden Eagle lead-in fighter trainers (LIFT) ordered in 2015.

First launched at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow, the L-39NG version of the L-39 Albatross features a more powerful Williams International FJ44-4M engine, a wet wing, a modern cockpit, and a lighter airframe than its predecessor, as Jane’s reported.

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