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Aero L-39 Albatros

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The Aero L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet trainer developed in Czechoslovakia by Aero Vodochody. It was designed during the 1960s as a replacement for the Aero L-29 Delfín as a principal training aircraft. The L-39 Albatros has the distinction of being the first of the second-generation jet trainers to be produced, as well as being the first trainer aircraft to be equipped with a turbofan powerplant. The type was exported to a wide range of countries as a military trainer.

The L-39 Albatros later served as the basis for the updated L-59 Super Albatros, as well as the L-139 (prototype L-39 with Garrett TFE731 engine). A further development of the design, designated as the L-159 ALCA, entered production in 1997. To date, more than 2,800 L-39s have served with over thirty air forces around the world. The Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world; in addition to performing basic and advanced pilot training, it has also flown combat missions in a light-attack role. The design never received a NATO reporting name.

At the Farnborough Airshow in July 2014, Aero Vodochody announced the launch of the L-39NG, an upgraded and modernized version of the L-39.


  • L-39X-01 - X-07: Five prototypes plus two static test airframes.
  • L-39C: Standard basic trainer for Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and export. Originally designated L-39, but renamed L-39C when later variants appeared. Two pylons under wing. Approximately 2,260 built.
  • L-39CM: Slovak upgraded C version
  • L-39M1: Ukrainian upgraded C version with AI-25TLSh engines. The conversion is carried out by Odesaviaremservis and the first plane was ready in 2009. The upgrade of a further 7 L-39C's was planned. Only six L-39C were converted into L-39M1 by 2014.
  • L-39V: Single-seat target tug version for Czechoslovakia. Equipped to tow KT-04 target on 5,600 feet (1,707 meters) cable. Prototype plus eight production aircraft built.
  • L-39ZO: Interim weapon trainer variant for export. Four pylons stressed for 500 kg (1,100 lb) (inboard) and 250 kg (550 lb) (outboard), with total external load of 1,150 kg (2,500 lb). First flew June 25th 1975, with initial deliveries to Iraq in 1977. 337 built.
  • L-39ZA: Significantly upgraded L-39ZO for armed training and light attack, employing sturdier landing gear, a higher payload (total 1,290 kg (2,844 lb)) and notably provision for a GSh-23L 23-millimeter twin-barreled cannon attached in a conformal pod under the pilots' compartment, having a 150-round magazine within the airframe. Outer pylons wired to carry K-13 or R-60 air-to-air missiles. Two prototypes, with first flying on September 29th 1976. 208 aircraft delivered.
  • L-39ZAM: Slovak upgraded ZA version.
  • L-39ZA/ART: Thai version of L-39ZA with Elbit avionics. 40 built.
  • L-39MS/L-59: The Aero L-39MS is a second generation military trainer aircraft developed from the firm's earlier L-39. Compared to its predecessor, it featured a strengthened fuselage, longer nose, a vastly updated cockpit, and a more powerful (21.6 kN (4,850 lbf)) Lotarev DV-2 engine, allowing operation at higher weights and speeds (max speed 872 km/h (542 mph)). First flight on 30 September 1986. It was later designated as the Aero L-59.
  • L-139 Albatros 2000: Revised version with western avionics and 17.99 kN (4,045 lbf) Garrett TFE731-4-1T engine. Single prototype built.
  • L-159: Further modernised advanced trainer/combat aircraft with more modern, western avionics and Honeywell/ITEC F124 engine.
  • L-39NG: Modernised and upgraded version with Williams FJ44 engine, improved fuel system and avionics, planned to be introduced in 2018.
  • Skyleader UL-39 Albi: A carbon-fibre ducted-fan powered scale variant first flown in the Czech Republic on April 4th 2016.


  • Afghanistan
    • Afghan Air Force
  • Algeria
    • Algerian Air Force
  • Armenia
    • Armenian Air Force
  • Azerbaijan
    • Azerbaijani Air Force
  • Bangladesh
    • Bangladesh Air Force
  • Belarus
    • Belarusian Air Force
  • Bulgaria
    • Bulgarian Air Force
  • Cambodia
    • Royal Cambodian Air Force
  • Chad
    • Chad Air Force
  • Republic of the Congo
    • Congolese Air Force
  • Cuba
    • Cuban Air Force
  • Czech Republic
    • Czech Air Force
  • Czechoslovakia
    • Czechoslovakian Air Force
  • Egypt
    • Egyptian Air Force
  • Equatorial Guinea
    • Equatoguinean Air Force
  • Estonia
    • Estonian Air Force
  • Ethiopia
    • Ethiopian Air Force
  • Georgia
    • Georgian Air Force
  • East Germany
    • East German Air Force
  • Ghana
    • Ghana Air Force
  • Hungary
    • Hungarian Air Force
  • Iraq
    • Iraqi Air Force
  • Kazakhstan
    • Kazakh Air Force
  • North Korea
    • Korean People's Air Force
  • Kyrgyzstan
    • Kyrgyzstan Air Force
  • Libya
    • Libyan Air Force
  • Lithuania
    • Lithuanian Air Force
  • Mozambique
    • Mozambique Air Force
  • Nicaragua
    • Nicaraguan Air Force
  • Nigeria
    • Nigerian Air Force
  • Romania
    • Romanian Air Force
  • Russia
    • Russian Air Force
  • Slovakia
    • Slovak Air Force
  • Soviet Union
    • Soviet Air Force
  • Sudan
    • Sudanese Air Force
  • Syria
    • Syrian Arab Air Force
  • Thailand
    • Royal Thai Air Force
  • Tunisia
    • Tunisian Air Force
  • Turkmenistan
    • Turkmen Air Force
  • Uganda
    • Ugandan Air Force
  • Ukraine
    • Ukrainian Air Force
  • Uzbekistan
    • Uzbek Air Force
  • Vietnam
    • Vietnam People's Air Force
  • Yemen
    • Yemen Air Force

See Also[edit]

Related Development[edit]

Comparable Aircraft[edit]

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