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Hungary to adapt L-39NG for future Gripen training needs

Under the terms of an MOU signed between Aero Vodochody and Saab, the L-39NG (pictured) is to be adapted to meet the future Gripen training requirements of the Hungarian Air Force. (Aero Vodochody)

Hungary is to adapt the Aero Vodochody L-39NG aircraft to meet the future advanced jet trainer requirements of its Saab Gripen combat fleet.

The Czech and Swedish airframers announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 29 May, with the two companies working to explore options to adapt the L-39NG to meet the Gripen C/D training needs of the Hungarian Air Force (HuAF).

“The primary objective of the co-operation, where Saab has the role of subcontractor to Aero Vodochody, is to conduct a feasibility study for a modification of the L-39NG aircraft to enable Hungarian pilot training from basic to advanced training,” the MOU announcement said. “The results of the first phase of the collaboration will be subsequently used for a comprehensive joint study aimed at developing a new pilot interface and avionics system for the L-39NG aircraft to make it compatible with the Hungarian Gripen fighter aircraft.”

The HuAF fields 14 leased Gripen C/Ds, to which in February it added an order of four additional Gripen Cs for a final fleet of 18 aircraft. Presently, HuAF pilot training is conducted on the Zlin Z 143 LSi and Z 242 L Zeus elementary and primary trainers, as well as the Gripen D operational jet trainer. In April 2022 Government Commissioner Gáspár Maróth told the national media that eight L-39NG aircraft would be acquired for advanced pilot training ahead of the transition onto the Gripen C, with a further four to be flown as operational reconnaissance aircraft.

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