Vietnam L 39NG 640Vietnam orders the Aero Vodochody L-39NG jet trainer

OMNIPOL, an in Prague (Czech Republic) based investment and trading group and the Ministry of Defence of Vietnam have signed a contract for the supply of twelve Aero Vodochody L-39NG jet trainers. The contract includes the training of pilots, instructors, ground crew and mechanics. Also included will be the supply of aircraft spare parts, as well as the supply of equipment for ground-based training, logistics support or specialized airport systems. The L-39NGs will be delivered in the 2023-2024 timeframe.

The Không quân Nhân dân Việt Nam (Vietnam People's Air Force) has been a long-time operator of the L-39C Albatros, one of the most prolific communist bloc jet trainers. More than 2,800 L-39s were delivered around the world during the Cold War, including 31 to Vietnam. These Czech-built Aero L-39C Albatros' training aircraft are operated by the 910th Aviation Training Regiment of the Air Force Officer School at Dong Tac Airport.

The L-39s are highly valued by customers around the world, for their robustness, high-quality workmanship and simplicity of maintenance. Proven experience with Czech aircraft, especially being able to operate in harsh climatic conditions, is an important criterion for the purchase of the L-39NG by the Vietnam People's Air Force. The aircraft shares a basic structure with the original variant, but the engine, flight deck, canopy, landing gear, and ejection seats are all new, along with aspects of the airframe. The aircraft's avionics are prepared to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft and can be tailored to the customer's requirements. The L-39NG is equipped with five hard-points for weapons. The aircraft also features a broad range of simulation technologies, including the integration into high-tech tactical simulation centres with the goal to increase training efficiency.

The twelve new L-39NGs will be complemented by the Yakovlev Yak-130 trainer. As reported by Scramble Magazine on 1 November 2020, Vietnam signed a USD 350 million contract to purchase at least twelve Yak-130 (combat) advanced training aircraft.

Back in 2017, Senior Colonel Nguyễn Tiến Học, head of the training department at the Air Force Officer School, discussed how a new 5-year aviation training programme would be implemented in the following years to replace the traditional 4-year programme. The first two years of the new five-year training programme are expected to be purely academic.

Upon reaching their 3rd year, cadets will begin basic flight training on the Air Force Officer School's Yak-52s (Yak-152 and T-6 Texan II are candidates for replacing them). During their 4th year, cadets will be trained on the L-39NG before moving to the Yakovlev Yak-130 in their 5th year. The L-39NG will be the basic trainer, while the Yak-130 will be the advanced trainer, responsible for student pilots undergoing training before piloting the Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30MK2 fighters and fighter-bombers. Under the old 4-year programme, Vietnamese pilots did not conduct actual aerial combat training until they reached their real squadron and trained on the unit's Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30MK2s.

A seperate training programme will be set up for helicopter pilots and on fixed-wing twin-engine aircraft such as the Airbus C295M and the CN212.

Photo: Czech Defence Journal

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