Three more modernized L-39ZA Albatros to boost Nigeria’s air power

Three more modernized L-39ZA Albatros to boost

The Nigerian aircraft are equipped with electronic flight instrument systems facilitating the digital display of flight data in the cockpit. Credit: AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s.

The Nigerian Air Force has received three L-39ZA Albatros jet trainers from the Czech Republic that were sent in 2020 for repair and modernization.

The three Albatros underwent extensive overhauling and modernization at the Aero Vodochody Facility in Pardubice airbase, Czech Republic to enhance their aerial capabilities.

The delivery is part of a contract signed two years ago to upgrade the three Nigerian Air Force aircraft.

An Antonov An-124 transport plane loaded them and transported them to the Pardubice base in the Czech Republic.

Following two years of overhaul, the aircraft flew on their axis to reach the Kano home base.

The upgraded features of the Nigerian aircraft include an electronic flight instrument system that facilitates the digital display of flight data in the cockpit and a heads-up display.

The new additions will enable pilots to train in a fully digital cockpit before operating the JF-17 fighter aircraft.

Three Aero test pilots covered the 5,000km route from Vodochody to Kano in four days.

While each pilot spent 13 hours in the air, they stopped over at Dijon (France), Valencia (Spain), Ghardaie (Algeria), Tamanrasset (Algeria), and Agadez (Niger), before reaching Nigeria.

Aero regional sales director Vladan Resner said: “Flights on their own axis are much more demanding organisationally, especially in terms of logistics and the requirements for coordination of individual activities.

“Not only is it necessary to arrange permission for military aircraft to fly over the territory of all states, but also to provide additional support such as escort aircraft with crew and mechanics, fuel and oxygen supply at all stops, or to ensure the safety of the crew during stopovers.

“All of this requires the perfect synergy of the entire team of experts not only from Aero, but also from other external institutions, which in this case worked perfectly.”

The three L-39ZAs joins another three that were earlier overhauled and upgraded in Czech on 2020. These batch arrived in July.

One of the three pilots shared that the last stage seemed to be the most difficult. Before the planes headed for the runways at Kano Air Force Base, the weather conditions were very poor.

Thunderstorms over the airport and heavy downpours complicated the landings of the three planes. However, the three successfully landed using a suitable meteorological timeframe.

Genesys Aerosystems’ avionics systems

At least, six L-39ZAs have been modernized with the Genesys Aerosystems’ avionics systems. The contract for the upgrade was awarded to Aero Vodochody last year.

Genesys Aerosystems is a provider of integrated avionics systems for military and civil customers, the company’s Genesys EFIS is an avionics solution for special-mission aircraft.

The 3D Synthetic Vision IDU EFIS, according to Genesys Aerosystems enhances safety, reduces pilot workload, increases flexibility, and lowers cost of of operations.

Additionally, for convenience during piloting, the Czechs have installed a heads-up digital display.

Nigeria’s L-38ZA Albatros fleet

Nigeria purchased 24 Aero L-39 Albatros armed jet trainers in 1986 to 1987 to replace its aging fleet of eight Aero L-29 Delfín jet trainers, and 10 P-149D trainers.

Earlier, to enhance its aircraft availability ratio, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) completed the in-country reactivation of five L-39ZA combat trainer aircraft.

Three L-39ZAs were reactivated in 2019, while an additional two reactivation were completed the next year.

The aircraft reactivation was conducted in collaboration with Aero Vodochody of the Czech Republic -the Original Equipment Manufacturers, with the active participation of NAF engineers and technicians.

So far, eleven airframes are airworthy and fit for combat, including six modernized with the with the Genesys Aerosystems’ avionics systems.


Subsequently, four Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots completed their air combat training at LOM Praha’s CLV flight-training center in September 2021.

State-owned Czech company LOM Praha began training the Nigerian pilots in the first half of 2018 at the CLV Pardubice air training center in the Czech Republic to improve their air-to-air and air-to-ground combat skills.

The NAF pilots completed 150 hours of training on the L-39C at LOM Praha flight training centre (CLV) Pardubice in Czech Republic.

The L-39ZA Albatros will be used by Nigerian airmen for training before they sit in the cockpit of the CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder. Nigeria acquired three fighters of this type in late 2020.

Exit mobile version