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Ghana lines up L-39NG jet acquisition

Ghana's defence minster sought parliamentary approval for the procurement of six L-39NG aircraft from the Czech company Aero Vodochody on 2 August.

The first flying prototype of the L-39NG.  (Aero Vodochody)

The first flying prototype of the L-39NG. (Aero Vodochody)

The parliament's order paper for that day showed the deal is worth EUR111 million (USD132 million) and covers associated products and services and a ground-based training system as well as the six aircraft.

The Ghanaian media reported that the acquisition is now being reviewed by parliament's Defence and Interior Committee.

The L-39NG is based on the L-39 Albatros that is still widely used in both the trainer and light attack roles, but has a new lighter airframe, a more powerful and efficient engine, modern avionics, two additional hardpoints on the end of its wings where fuel tanks were located on its predecessor, and an undercarriage that can handle unpaved airstrips.

The increased efficiency of the engine, reduction in weight and drag, and new fuel system gives it a maximum range of 1,900 km without external fuel tanks, 800 km farther than the L-39, according to Aero Vodochody.

The company says the aircraft will have similar operating costs as a turboprop and announced in March that life cycle testing showed it has a service life of up to 15,000 flight hours, three-times longer than the L-39.

It announced in April 2020 that Senegal had ordered four L-39NGs, making it the first military customer for the new aircraft after orders from several companies, including LOM Praha, which trains the Czech and other air forces.

The company told Janes at the time that the Senegalese aircraft would be delivered in 2020-21, but that timeline has slipped as no aircraft have been delivered to any customers yet.

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