Aero Vodochody signs deal with Bulgaria for L-39ZA Albatros jets upgrade

By Defence Industry Europe

In mid-December, Aero Vodochody, a Czech aerospace company, has announced a new agreement with the Bulgarian Defence Ministry to continue the repair and partial modernization program of the L-39ZA Albatros jet aircraft.


The contract involves the main repair of two aircraft and will include partial modernization. These jets are scheduled to arrive at the company’s facilities in January 2024, joining four other Albatros aircraft already undergoing work.

This contract is part of a four-year framework agreement signed between Aero Vodochody and the Bulgarian Defence Ministry in November 2022. The first two L-39ZA aircraft were delivered to the contractor in January 2023, with two more following in subsequent months. After the upgrade, each aircraft will have a full inter-maintenance resource, allowing for 7.5 years of operation or 1,500 flight hours.



Bulgaria originally received 36 Aero L-39ZA Albatros aircraft between 1986 and 1990, with about twelve currently in service. These jets play a crucial role in pilot training, bridging the gap between the Pilatus PC-9 turboprop trainers and the eventual transition to combat aircraft.

In the near future, these upgraded L-39ZA Albatros jets are expected to be used for training Bulgarian pilots before they transition to the multirole Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon Block 70 fighter jets. This upgrade program underlines the commitment to maintaining a capable and modern air force, ensuring the pilots are well-prepared for advanced fighter aircraft operations.



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