|Czech Republic is looking for new trainer jet to replace L-39 fleet.|
The Czech Republic is currently looking for a new basic jet trainer to replace its L-39 fleet. The Czech Air Force had already announced last year that in May 2019 there will be an event at Caslav AB to celebrate the withdrawal of the Albatros. In addition, Czech Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar announced in October 2018 that the nation is considering to buy up to six new L-39NG jets from the Czech company Aero Vodochody. It is not clear if the Czech Government intends to consider also other aircraft to replace the old L-39 fleet. Currently the main competitor of the L-39NG is the new Leonardo's M-345 HET who made the first flight on December 21, 2018.
Both aircraft are equipped with the Williams FJ44-4M engine and boast a modern avionics. The main difference between the two types is their production step. In the week before Christmas, both companies flew their new aircraft for the first time, but while Leonardo's M-345 belonged to serial production, Aero Vodochody's L-39NG belonged to pre-series. Considering that the Czeh Air Force will withdraw the L-39s by the end of the year, the delivery date of the new aircraft could be a key factor.
The first L-39 entered the fleet of the Czech Air Force in 1974. The Czech Republic purchased 29 L-39Cs (training variant) and 10 L-39ZAs (light attack variant). Today only 11 aircraft are still in service.
Written by Matteo Sanzani
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