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First production L-39NG readied for Vietnam

The first Aero Vodochody L-39NG for the Vietnam People's Air Force after it left the company paint shop in August 2023. (Aero Vodochody)

Aero Vodochody has presented the first in-series production L-39NG in the colours of the Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF).

The company said on 7 August that the first of the series production aircraft “will soon be heading to its new owner”. In a photograph of the aircraft following its exit from the company paint shop, Aero said the aircraft was being prepared “to be handed over to the customer”.

Vietnam ordered 12 L-39NG aircraft in February 2021. At the time, it was announced that the aircraft would be delivered from 2023 to 2024. The contract includes the training of pilots, instructors, ground crew, and mechanics. The supply of aircraft spare parts, as well as equipment for ground-based training, logistics support, or specialised airport systems, is also included, according to Janes data.

Janes assesses that the VPAF should receive the initial batch of aircraft by the end of 2023.

The new L-39NGs will allow Vietnam to partly replace its older fleet of training L-39Cs. The first L-39Cs were delivered in 1980. The VPAF's 910th Training Regiment at Dong Tac operates 25 L-39Cs. This regiment is primarily responsible for the training of VPAF combat pilots.

In the photograph of the new L-39NG, the aircraft has the serial number 2303. Imagery from December 2022 showed at least two additional L-39NGs being assembled at Aero's facility for the VPAF (with serial numbers 7005 and 7012). Janes data adds that in April 2023 Vietnam was in talks with the Czech Republic to increase the initial order of 12. The Vietnam Ministry of National Defence did not provide details to Janes

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