Kazakhstan Air Defence Force (KADF) capabilities have been enhanced following the recent return of at least one Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros training/light combat aircraft, after completing a modernisation process.
The Kazakh Ministry of Defence (MOD) confirmed on March 11 that the first aircraft had been re-delivered after being overhauled and modernised by the original manufacturer in Vodochody, Czech Republic. While it did not disclose the number of aircraft that have been returned, the MOD added that the aircraft have since arrived at the KADF Training and Aviation Centre at the 609th Air Base in Balkhash.
Following the signing of a state defence contract, the L-39s were returned to Aero Vodochody at the end of last year to undergo the overhaul and modernisation process. This included the installation of new Genesys Aerosystems digital avionics, communication systems and other equipment.
In 2019, contracts were signed for two batches of four aircraft to be upgraded and by October 2020, six aircraft were being worked by Aero Vodochody. At that time, the company was expecting to receive a further two examples from Kazakhstan. It is unconfirmed how many examples have been completed to date, but the first aircraft – c/n 633818 – was returned to Kazakhstan in the second week of March.
The L-39C is employed by the KADF for day and night student pilot training in both simple and complex weather conditions, as well as for teaching basic flight training techniques and other elements of air combat operations. The platform is also used for weapons training.