Aero Vodochody to Upgrade Bulgarian L-39 Jet Trainers

Bulgaria has awarded Aero Vodochody a contract to upgrade the Bulgarian Air Force’s L-39 Albatros jet trainers.

The agreement will see the company overhaul the AI-25TL engines and PBS-built Safir auxiliary launch units of two L-39ZA aircraft.

Aero Vodochody will also replace the aircraft’s original Russian avionics with Western identification, navigation, communication, and recording capabilities.

State-owned enterprise LOM Praha will work alongside other Czech-based strategic partners and suppliers to support the modernization.

The air force will deliver the trainers to Aero’s Vodokhod facility by the end of January, while work for the first L-39 unit is expected to be completed by 2024.

“I am delighted with the successful completion of the tender and the opportunity to support another of the users of our legendary L-39 Albatros aircraft,” Aero Vodochody Sales Vice President Filip Kulštrunk stated.

“We are systematically working to strengthen and develop relationships with the current users of our aircraft. Thus, Bulgaria joins the ranks of customers who have opted for overhaul and partial modernization of their aircraft.”

Czech Air Force’s L-39NG

In November 2022, Aero and LOM Praha signed a contract to deliver four new L-39NG “Next Generation” aircraft to the Czech Air Force.

The order’s first unit is expected to be shipped within 28 months following the agreement.

Once delivered, the planes will be utilized in pilot training and light combat tasks.

The Czech Republic also plans to use its future L-39NGs in foreign military training through the country’s Pardubice Flight Training Center under NATO Flight Training Europe.

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