Aero L-39 Albatros


The Aero L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet trainer aircraft developed in Czechoslovakia to meet requirements for a "C-39" (C for cvičný – trainer) during the 1960s to replace the L-29 Delfín. It was the first of the second-generation jet trainers, and the first turbofan-powered trainer produced, and was later updated as the L-59 Super Albatros and as the L-139 (prototype L-39 with Garrett TFE731 engine).

A further development of the design, the L-159 ALCA, began production in 1997. To date, more than 2,800 L-39s have served with over 30 air forces around the world. The Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world; in addition to performing basic and advanced pilot training, it has also flown combat missions in a light-attack role. Atypically, it has never received a NATO reporting name.


L-39X-01 – X-07 Five prototypes plus two static test airframes.

L-39C (C for Cvičná – training) Standard basic trainer for Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and export. Originally designated L-39, but renamed L-39C when later variants appeared. Two pylons under wing. Approximately 2,260 built.

L-39CM (CM for Cvičná modernizovaná – modernised training) Slovak upgraded C version.

L-39M1 Ukrainian upgraded C version with AI-25TLSh engines. The conversion is carried out by Odesaviaremservis and the first plane was ready in 2009. The upgrade of a further 7 L-39C's is planned.

L-39V (V for Vlečná – tug) Single-seat target tug version for Czechoslovakia. Equipped to tow KT-04 target on 1,700 m (5,600 ft) cable. Prototype plus eight production aircraft built.

L-39ZO (Z for Zbraně – weapons) Interim weapon trainer variant for export. Four pylons stressed for 500 kg (1,100 lb) (inboard) and 250 kg (550 lb) (outboard), with total external load of 1,150 kg (2,500 lb). First flew 25 June 1975, with initial deliveries to Iraq in 1977. 337 built.

L-39ZA Significantly upgraded L-39ZO for armed training and light attack, employing sturdier landing gear, a higher payload (total 1,290 kg (2,844 lb))[15] and notably provision for a GSh-23L 23 millimeter twin barreled cannon attached in a conformal pod under the pilots' compartment, having a 150 round magazine within the airframe. Outer pylons wired to carry K-13 or R-60 air-to-air missiles. Two prototypes, with first flying on 29 September 1976. 208 aircraft delivered.

L-39ZAM Slovak upgraded ZA version.

L-39ZA/ART Thai version of L-39ZA with Elbit avionics. 40 built.

L-39MS The Aero L-39MS Super Albatros is a second generation military trainer aircraft developed from the firm's earlier L-39. Compared to its predecessor, it featured a strengthened fuselage, longer nose, a vastly updated cockpit, and a more powerful (21.6 kN (4,850 lbf)) Lotarev DV-2 engine, allowing operation at higher weights and speeds (max speed 872 km/h (542 mph)). First flight on 30 September 1986. It was later designated as the Aero L-59 .

L-139 Albatros 2000 Revised version with western avionics and 17.99 kN (4,045 lbf) Garrett TFE731-4-1T engine. Single prototype built.

L-159 Further modernised advanced trainer/combat aircraft with more modern, western avionics and Honeywell F124 engine.

Specifications (L-39C)

• Crew: 2

• Length: 12.13 m (39 ft 9½ in)

• Wingspan: 9.46 m (31 ft 0½ in)

• Height: 4.77 m (15 ft 7¾ in)

• Wing area: 18.8 m² (202 ft²)

• Airfoil: NACA 64A012 mod

• Empty weight: 3,455 kg (7,617 lb)

• Max. takeoff weight: 4,700 kg (10,362 lb)

• Powerplant: 1 × Ivchenko AI-25TL turbofan, 16.87 kN (3,792 lbf)


• Never exceed speed: Mach 0.80 (609 mph, 980 km/h)

• Maximum speed: 750 km/h (405 knots, 466 mph) at 5,000 m (16,400 ft)

• Range: 1,100 km (593 nmi, 683 mi) (internal fuel)

• 1,750 km, (944 nmi, 1,087 mi) (internal and external fuel)

• Endurance: 2 hr 30 min (internal fuel), 3 hr 50 min (internal and external fuel)

• Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,100 ft)

• Rate of climb: 13.5 m/s (4,130 ft/min)

• Wing loading: 250.0 kg/m² (51.3 lb/ft²)

• Thrust/weight: 0.37

• Climb to 5,000 m (16,400 ft): 5 min

• Take-off roll: 530 m (1,740 ft)

• Landing roll: 650 m (2,140 ft)


• Up to 284 kg (626 lb) of stores on two external hardpoints

• 2× wingtip fuel tanks