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Ukraine conflict: Lithuania transfers L-39 light combat jet to Kyiv

The disassembled L-39 light combat jet after being offloaded from a freight truck in Ukraine. (Lithuanian MoD)

Lithuania has successfully transferred an Aero Vodochody L-39ZA Albatros light strike jet to Ukraine, transporting the aircraft in the back of a freight lorry.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the delivery on 20 April, saying the single-engined jet had been transferred as part of a wider military aid package to Kyiv.

Once assembled and tested, the L-39ZA will join the Ukrainian Air Force, which already operates the type as a light fighter and ground attack platform. The L-39 is equipped with a centreline single 23 mm GSh-23 two-barrel gun, and can carry an assortment of bombs and rockets on four underwing hardpoints. It can also carry AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles on its outboard weapons pylons.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine fielded a range of Soviet Union-era combat aircraft that it inherited in 1991. These comprised 50 MiG-29 ‘Fulcrums', 33 Su-27 ‘Flankers', 12 Su-24 ‘Fencers', 25 Su-25 ‘Frogfoots', and 34 L-39s. It is unknown how many of these types remain operational but, as with the L-39s from Lithuania, the Ukrainian Air Force has received foreign airframes, parts, and support to maintain its fleets as best it can.

For more information on the L-39, please seeAero L-39 .

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