Aero L-39NG Albatros Jet Trainer for the Philippine Air Force?

The Philippine Air Force is about to embark on more sophisticated weaponry especially the ones that will define its role within the Armed Forces of the Philippines such as the Lead-in Fighter Trainer or also known as the Light Combat Aircraft coming in the form of the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) FA-50PH and the future Multi-role Fighter Jet (MRF) of the service branch where latest reports suggesting that it is lenient on the F-16 Block 70/72 Viper. With these recent developments, one may understand that it also requires a platform that will provide the pilots basic training of experiencing and flying a basic jet aircraft before their assignment on these sophisticated aircraft aforementioned with required flight hours covered and satisfied.

The Philippine Air Force is now seeking for a newer advanced basic jet trainer
in replacement to its older ones in inventory.
The Philippine Air Force is currently growing its own fleet of military assets which eventually will render this service branch within the Armed Forces of the Philippines more capable than ever, satisfying its need of having capable tools to get its job done and goes in line with its Waypoint 2022 and Flight Plan 2028 goals.

It comes along with other purchases within the Philippine Air Force particularly the developments unfolded for the service branch's Multirole Fighter Jet Program in which it is considered one of the priorities of the organization in improving its capabilities alongside other procurement projects about attack helicopters, combat utility helicopters, an additional squadron of FA-50PH and other Modernization-related materializations that are currently taking place, with the Multirole Fighter Jets and Attack Helicopters being the most waited projects to unveil before this year ends.

With these projects taking its roll across the Philippine Air Force Flight Plan timeline, it will be a nice thing if a project for Advanced Basic Jet Trainer shall be initiated wherein its purpose comes with the aspiring pilot's desire to learn more basic jet flying lessons on military aircraft operations especially in maneuvering and flying a jet aircraft as a stepping stone before the embarkment on operations with a higher level of military aircraft to be utilized such as the Lead-in Fighter Trainer or a Light Combat Aircraft coming in the form of FA-50PH obtained from South Korea and eventually the Multirole Fighter Jets that are essential for the country's territorial defense through the security of national airspace.

Currently, its role is covered by the SIAI Marchetti S-211 Basic Trainer Jet which was considered the primary aircraft that the Philippine Air Force after the last F-5A/Bs decommissioned from service until the entry of the first units of FA-50s within the service branch wherein there is an idea that such platform may need a replacement as the whole organization get its array of military equipment modernized.

Hence, this development is as interesting as the other projects of the Philippine Air Force where obtaining a newer, capable basic jet trainer is something that will help the organization increase its pool of skillful pilots in anticipation of their overall increase in air defense capabilities which involves the use of advanced aircraft that is essential for the implementation of PADIZ or the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone.

This was once the Philippine Air Force's primary defense aircraft
before the FA-50s entered service within the organization.
Via JetPhotos.
Understanding the idea of obtaining advanced basic jet trainers within the Philippine Air Force also means understanding the operations that were initiated by having such a platform especially when the times that the organization is at the all-time low since the decommissioning the last of its capable F-5 A/B variants from service.

Commissioned in the early 1990s, the Marchetti AS-211 Warrior is the Philippine designation of the Italian-made S-211s with its original designation as a basic jet trainer with the added attack capability wherein it went more prominent when it was to fill the roles of once-active F-5s for the organization to have where these aircraft undertook several upgrades under the series of steps under Project Falcon.

From here, it is seen that the Philippine Air Force is doing its part on enhancing the resources it obtains in the first decade of the 21st Century where they lack the necessary tools required for the organization to further implement its Air Defense given that the responsibility was given to a basic jet trainer which considers the sad state of the service branch in its mandate in protecting the national airspace.

The turning point for the role of the PAF AS-211 Warrior as a primary air defense aircraft came with the entry of Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50PH which it was purchased as part of the Revised AFP Modernization Program, known more like the Republic Act 10349 in which it provides new hope for the Philippine Air Force in its desire to improve its air defense capabilities with the AS-211 Warrior now augments the FA-50s in providing training to new pools of pilots and in air defense capabilities that come back the vibrancy since the last F-5s went out of service.

As the second decade of this century draws to a close, the times have inflicted to the age of the Marchetti AS-211 units within the Philippine Air Force as its airframe flight cycles have already incurred from its entry of service to the point that a replacement is badly needed for such kind of aircraft that at one point served gallantly to the organization in the times that it badly need tools that are about to be granted eventually along the current procurement plans undertaken under the Waypoint 2022 and Flight Plan 2028 goals of the service branch.

While the idea of replacing it comes with its ever-increasing cost for maintenance and operations, its legacy carries on where it serves as a platform during the humble times of the organization where it provides the driving motivation for its key leaders to push through and modernize up to the point that each current procurement projects are slowly being granted or at the point nearing the closing of the deal such as in the case of Multirole Fighter Jet program.

A newer platform may continue its role as a basic jet trainer that serves as a bridge for pilots from SF-260 which is also the product of Marchetti to the Korean-made FA-50s especially with regards to obtaining the skills required on operating a jet aircraft before the assignment onboard a more sophisticated aircraft.

Aero Vodochody is Czech Republic's Aerospace Industry which
is also part of its defense-industrial complex alongside
others like Excalibur Army.
It is worth mentioning last time as you read along with the articles we wrote in this website regarding the Wheeled Tank procurement of the Philippine Army that the currently preferred platform is a 105mm 8x8 variant that is currently marketed by this country that is also the origin of these basic jet trainer aircraft that is set to help improve the skills of aspiring pilots of the Philippine Air Force - and yes, we are referring to the country of Czech Republic and its Defense Aerospace Company which is Aero Vodochody.

This year, the year 2019, marks its 100th anniversary of operations which were started in then Czechoslovakia a century ago, with its experience as an aerospace industry keeps on incurring from time to time where their work reflects on the products they produce such as the L-39 Albatros advanced basic jet trainer aircraft that caught the interest of those in the Philippine Air Force as well as its service with its existing users that is something that talks about the reputation of this Czech-based company in the defense aerospace industry.

The history of the Czech aerospace company traces back when the Czechoslovak Republic itself went independent in 1918 where it founded just a year later as the Aero - továrna létadel or known more in English as the Aero - the aircraft company which was then situated on the country's capital city which is in Prague with the A-1 and A-10 its first-ever produced aircraft for both military and civilian applications, respectively.

Throughout the interwar periods (spanning 1919-1939 in Europe), Czech Aero expands its production and market wherein they produce a handful of license-built aircraft as well as several indigenously-developed aircraft that are essential for both military and civilian applications inside and outside Czechoslovakia at that time. 

Such capability for production and aircraft development further intensified during the Second World War when the country was under the occupation of Nazi Germany which is primarily for transport and training purposes wherein their products improved with several German attributes included in their aircraft development (since they produce aircraft like the Focke-Wulf 189 alongside the Siebel Si-204).

After the war, the capability that the company needs in producing an advanced basic trainer jet such as the L-39 Albatros came with the country being under the Soviet influence within the Warsaw Pact as they produce license-built USSR-designed military aircraft such as the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15s as well as the later variants like the MiG-21s (MiG-21F-13 Czech license-production) which in the process introduced them to jet age with the experience of its production engrained on their accrued skillset that comes with its going credibility as an aircraft manufacturer even at the present date especially in their post-cold war attributions from developing newer aircraft to providing subcomponents to various production aircraft of other manufacturers like those for the Boeing Company

With this array of the company's experience of producing aircraft ranging from its early days down to the country's occupation and control of powers like Germany and the Soviet Union, it goes to show that Aero Vodochody is resilient enough to survive along the way where the eras of the country's history come to the opportunity for this aerospace industry to keep on improving to the certain point on the milestones they achieve in the current date.

It is said that this aircraft was developed in the 1960s when
Czechoslovakia was still a communist country aligned to
the Soviet Union on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
Image Source.
The aircraft's development comes with the introduction of jet technology to Aero Vodochody through their cooperation in building license-built MiG aircraft that was aforementioned in this article in which they produced the L-39 Albatros predecessor coming in the form of L-29 Delfin wherein it was considered the first Czech indigenously-built jet aircraft which has done by the same company.

Speaking of its predecessor, it was from the L-29 Delfin that the Aero Vodochody provide the foundations to the development of the L-39 Albatros of which it went to service across the Eastern Bloc including the Soviet Union of which its purpose goes as it is intended - a jet trainer that helps prepare future pilots of MiG aircraft to understand jet operations and acquire skillsets that is helpful for their duties and responsibilities in their respective nations.

The development of the L-39 Albatros started in the early 1960s which correlates to the development of its predecessor just a decade earlier of which at that time is already in service in the aforementioned countries which include Czechoslovakia itself. The first test flight for this aircraft didn't take place until eight years later on November 4, 1968, and its introduction within the Czechoslovak Air Force took place four years from its first test flight, in 1972.

At these given years, it is worth taking note that the 1960s is also the year when a Fighter aircraft like the F-5 Freedom Fighter was introduced in nations which include the Philippines in which it obtained the platforms until it went decommissioned out of service more than the decade earlier in 2005 which speaks fully with regards to the age of these aircraft's design, only that the L-39 Albatros was younger a bit with its introduction to service took place in the early 1970s, of which is still currently develops into its latest variant and still in production at the current date as opposed to the F-5 which is slowly being replaced with more capable aircraft such as the FA-50 in the case of the Philippine Air Force.

Aero Vodochody's product still persists today wherein the L-39 Albatros came with a new variant which is the L-39NG or the Next Generation jet trainer wherein it serves as a multirole platform for pilot trainees to have that it comes double as a light combat/reconnaissance aircraft especially in combat where such aircraft is needed in augmentation for other close air support aircraft like the A-29 Super Tucano or unmanned platforms such as the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900 UAS that the Philippine Air Force is opting for its ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) operations.

Such variant goes in parallel to what the AS-211 Marchetti is capable of within the Philippine Air Force wherein it is fitted with some weapon components on the units as part of the Project Falcon step-by-step processes, only that the L-39NG will be getting a bit more sophisticated with modern avionics and other improvements that the AS-211 does not have may go applied as the capabilities within the military branch improves in the long run.

It is worth seeing regarding the developments that such type of aircraft may partake for the years to come, given that it obtains all of the potentials it possesses for it to be an ideal platform for the Philippine Air Force to have wherein such an option is definitely not new to itself and was considered before in the original AFP Modernization Program in the form of the Republic Act 7898 from 1991 to 1995.

Hence, the possibility for the Philippine Air Force in obtaining such asset is there wherein the fact is established that the older AS-211 Marchetti aircraft that the organization currently uses for its basic jet trainer operations is badly needed to be replaced as its airframe life cycles are getting maxed out to prevent a scenario that an aircraft simply exploded in the air like in the case of the F-5A/Bs that have led to its decommissioning from service.

This is the latest variant of the L-39 Albatros basic jet trainer that
is worth a replacement for the Philippine Air Force S-211 Marchetti.
Obtained via Jet Photos.
First introduced in Farnborough International Airshow in July 2014, this aircraft is seen in its greatest potential as an advanced multirole jet trainer that will surely existing jet trainers in countries like the Philippines as aforementioned as well as in countries that obtain earlier versions of the L-39 Albatros where it is incorporated with components that are either not seen on the previous variants and with improvements incorporated on this newly-enhanced jet trainer aircraft.

It is worth taking note that there are 12 other variants of the L-39 Albatros, of which several are fitted with weaponry or being specialized in a specific form of training that is seen as an essential thing for a country like the Czech Republic especially that upon the fall of the Iron Curtain that separates the Communist Eastern Bloc and Western Europe wherein an aerospace company such as the Aero Vodochody sees an opportunity to sell its jet trainer product aside from getting access on western avionics and better engines that will power the aircraft aside from the original Soviet-era Ivchenko AI-25 engines.

This latest variant of the L-39NG Albatros will be considered as the recent, most modernized version of the aircraft in service wherein it will be fitted with the Williams J44 engine as well as better avionics and fuel system that makes it as the most upgraded variant of the Albatros to date in which it comes with the marketing that these welcoming additions to its subcomponents are essential for the improvement of an air force's basic training capabilities required for an aspiring pilot to partake especially with that required flight hours needed to be worthy enough to take the wings and fly on more sophisticated aircraft like the FA-50 lead-in Fighter Trainer and eventually, the F-16 Multirole Fighter where it is inching closer to a final deal.

The first flight for this aircraft took place four years after it was introduced in December of 2018 in which it showcased by the manufacturer Aero Vodochody as a renewal for this Soviet-era designed aircraft which is now integrated with Western-based technology and is now set the sights to create sales for this product, open new markets for its jet trainer product and creating its prospects wherein they are aiming for deliveries as early as next year for 10 undisclosed nations that are aspiring to obtain these aircraft as part of its inventory.

The prospective customer's desire for procurement is something that eventually helps improve the number of users for such type of aircraft where the sources for spare parts will be available thereon and safeguarding the requirements of procurement that requires at least two exporting countries, if not the host country itself, actively utilizing such platforms in their respective air forces.

It satisfies the prerequisites for its purchase which increases the opportunity it has in terms of having Aero Vodochody's penetration in the Philippine defense market which has come in the same manner as a fellow Czech defense company Excalibur Army regarding their marketing of Pandur 8x8 Wheeled Tank / Fire Support Vehicle that is a preferable candidate for the Philippine Army's Light Tank Acquisition alongside GDELS' ASCOD MMBT.

L-39NG Specifications.
Here are some details regarding the latest iteration of
Aero Vodochody's known product.
Image Source.
The features provided in the L-39NG as noted are considered improvements over its base design aircraft of the Cold War period wherein this present iteration comes with a couple of upgrades that are up with the technologies that are in place in this current portion of the 21st Century.

Its airframe is considered as reputable which it goes as proven as the original L-39s that went in service across Eastern Block militaries, with innovations introduced in the aircraft regarding its aerodynamics, weight, and airframe life cycles which is up to 15,000 flight hours that are all essential on its very purpose and operation as a jet trainer that hones the skills of aspiring pilots. It is worth checking the details right on this link here.

Comparing it to the SIAI Marchetti S-211 jet trainer that the Philippine Air Force currently uses as its own jet trainer, it is known that the L-39NG obtains its edge against the S-211 especially in terms of each aircraft's speed and range, with the former having 750km/h at the range of 2,590kms while the latter having 667km/h with a range of 1,670kms.

The edge that the L-39NG obtains against the S-211, along with the upgrades it received from avionics to its engine, it is also considered as a boost for the Philippine Air Force's jet trainer inventory shall this platform gets considered given that its capability will be helpful to the aspiring pilots to train down to the basics of flying a jet aircraft that ensures smooth transition along the way to the FA-50s and eventually to the Multirole Fighter Jet aircraft.

On the other information, some details are signifying that this preferred candidate of the Philippine Air Force Trainer Acquisition Program is said to be facing potential setbacks regarding its procurement, although it is still considered to be in the competition of the project - only that there may be an idea to the deferring timelines provided where it may be discussed on an update in the future on this website.

Still, the idea for replacing the S-211 is there to have given that its airframe life cycle is slowly using up wherein the stress to the aircraft's incurring flight hours is inflicting to its structural integrity which may mean more harm to the pool of pilots in the long run if these platforms are to be used continually for the next couple of years which keeps potential candidates like the Aero L-39NG Albatros in the picture.

So, on the idea regarding this platform's performance will be served to its potential end-user, the pilots will improve their skillsets further with longer flight hours that this jet trainer provides in which more pool for skillful manpower will be produced along the way that the Air Force will end up obtaining for the operations of its more-advanced aircraft with several assets coming on its way to its airwing setup.

Jet trainers are essential for having a capable Air Force.
Image Source.
The Philippine Air Force is currently in a procurement spree of various military equipment it aspires to have in its inventory along with the Modernization plans via the Waypoint 2022 up to the Flight Plan 2028, wherein the most awaited decision is seen for its two big-ticket projects such as the Attack Helicopter Program and the Multirole Fighter Project which will be interesting in the next couple of weeks, if not months ahead.

In terms of having soon-to-have sophisticated weaponry such as the Multirole Fighter Jets and Lead-in Fighter Trainers, it is at no doubt that advanced trainers are also needed to obtain skillful pilots who are capable enough to operate these multi-billion peso assets that the Philippine Air Force has in a way that duties and responsibilities in securing the national airspace will be effectively and efficiently delivered.

With this, it comes with an idea of replacing older AS-211 Marchetti jet trainers that are slowly using up its flight hours on the full wherein preferred candidates such as the L-39NG are at a consideration wherein its enhanced capability from the original aircraft it derived is something that suits the pilots on the sophistication that newer fighter aircraft that will be coming to the Air Force inventory for the years to come.

It remains to be seen now as there may still be changes in preferences regarding the Trainer Aircraft Acquisition Project where planning and even the timeline may change without prior notice, in which circumstances that may come along the way may influence the decision on key officials on determining the best platform for this purpose.

Nonetheless, this project comes with the aspirations that came along other big-ticket projects across the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a way that a minimum credible defense posture is to attain in a way that training the people who will serve as part of enforcing the Philippine Air Defense Identification Zone (PADIZ) is as essential as the purchase of sophisticated military weaponry itself, along with facilities, doctrine, and organization that defines the functions of an Armed Forces in securing the country and its national integrity.


Bohol said...

One of the most extensive analysis on our PAF arsenal. We lag behind our Asean counterparts, but there is hope to catch up.

Norman L. Ocampo said...

The MRF project is the MOST awaited project of all, whether the F-16 Viper or the SAAB JAS 39, I do not care what ever the PAF choose they are BOTH good planes that can perform well for our needs.

Post a Comment




Total Pageviews To-Date

Webpage Visitors

Free counters!