“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. 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,” says Filip Kulštrunk, Vice President of Sales at Aero Vodochody.
Under the contract, an order has been placed for the overhaul of the first two L-39ZA aircraft, including two engines and the Safir auxiliary launch unit. LOM Praha, a strategic partner, will also work on the contract and will overhaul the AI-25TL engines. Aero will start extensive overhaul and partial modernization work by the end of January when the aircraft will be delivered to the Vodokhod factory. According to the contract, the completion of the first aircraft is expected in 2024. The plan is to fly the aircraft back to Bulgaria on their own. Other suppliers from the Czech Republic, who cooperate with Aero Vodochody, will also participate in the contract.
The contract also includes a partial modernization, mainly replacing the original Russian avionics with Western ones, thus modernizing navigation, communication, identification, and recording equipment. The overhaul itself will restore the aircraft to 7.5 years or 1,500 flight hours between overhauls.
Aero has produced some 2,900 L-39 Albatros aircraft, hundreds of which are still flying around the world. The Albatros is historically the most successful jet trainer aircraft. But many countries also use them for other missions, such as reconnaissance missions or border protection. In recent years, the company has completed maintenance, repair, and upgrade orders for L-39C and L-39ZA aircraft from four foreign customers in Africa and Central Asia. The L39 Albatros aircraft are expected to be replaced in the future by the new L-39NG aircraft, which is enjoying great interest from users worldwide due to its successful certification.