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Hungary to buy L-39NG jets from Czech Republic

Seen during its official rollout in October 2018, the L-39NG has been acquired by Hungary for pilot training and reconnaissance. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Hungary is to receive 12 Aero Vodochody L-39NG (Next Generation) jet trainer aircraft from the Czech Republic, a senior government official announced on 20 April.

Government Commissioner Gáspár Maróth told national media that eight of the new aircraft will be used for advanced pilot training ahead of transition onto the Saab Gripen C, with the remainder to be flown as operational reconnaissance aircraft.

No contract value was disclosed, but according to Maróth's announcement on the‘High-tech Force' Facebook channel deliveries are to commence from 2024.

As noted by Janes World Air Forces, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have discussed establishing a joint fighter pilot training programme, likely employing new L-39NG training jets. With the Czech Air Force already an L-39NG operator and the Hungarian Air Force now onboard also, such an international training school could see the first pilots graduate from 2025. It is yet to be determined whether this would supplement or replace the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme.

The L-39NG was first rolled out by Aero in October 2018, with flights trials concluding in early 2020. Compared with the baseline L-39, the L-39NG features a more powerful Williams International FJ44-4M engine, a wet wing, a modern cockpit, and a lighter airframe than its predecessor. It is equipped with five hardpoints (compared with two for the baseline L-39) to carry a range of payloads, and has the option for a gun pod. According to Janes All the World's Aircraft: Development & Production

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