Nigeria got back three Czech jets used for a JF-17 training
PRAGUE ($1=23.52 Czech Korunas) — The Nigerian Air Force has received back its jet trainers from the Czech Republic. These are three L-39ZA Albatros aircraft from Aero. They were sent to the Czech Republic in 2020 for repair and modernization. Then, an Antonov An-124 transport plane loaded them and transported them to the Pardubice base in the Czech Republic.
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Nigerian L-39ZA Albatros received a new digital cockpit. EFIS system already works in it. It is a digital information system processing and providing flight data to the pilot. Additionally, for convenience during piloting, the Czechs have installed a heads-up digital display.
The L-39ZA Albatros will be used by Nigerian airmen for training before they sit in the cockpit of the CAC/PAC JF-17 Thunder. Nigeria acquired three fighters of this type in late 2020. It is the most advanced combat fighter in the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force [NAF]. NAF equipment also includes 13 Franco-German Alpha Jet, with Chinese fighter Zhengju F7, and six Brazilian light attack aircraft EMB 314 Super Tucano. According to the former Pakistani pilot and now analyst Kaiser Tufail, the Nigerian government will use [already uses] the Pakistani fighter jet to fight the terrorist organization Boko Haram.
Czech L-39ZAs were delivered to Nigeria more interestingly – flying on their axis. In principle, such deliveries take place after the aircraft is disassembled, transported by cargo plane back to the customer, assembled by Czech specialists on site and the first test flights of the upgraded aircraft are carried out.
Flying on its axis means that the three aircraft have traveled a distance of 5,000 km in a direct flight. The Czech company informs that the three pilots flew for 13 hours a day. Five staging locations were used – Dijon [France], Valencia [Spain], Gardaye [Algeria], Tamanrasset [Algeria], and Agadez [Niger].
This method of transportation is convenient when it is carried out over short distances. But in this specific case, it is risky, since besides being accompanied by dozens of administrative activities [permission to fly in the airspace of each country] it is also connected with complex logistical support. For example, sufficient oxygen must be provided to the pilots. A military escort in the air must be provided to ensure the safety of the pilots and the preservation of the equipment. Last but not least, the exact coordinates for landing, where refueling is permitted, must be calculated.
One of the three pilots shared that the last stage seemed to be the most difficult. Before the planes headed for the runways at Kano Air Force Base, the weather conditions were very poor. Thunderstorms over the airport and heavy downpours complicated the landings of the three planes. Piloting skills were on display as the three successfully landed the machines using a suitable meteorological window of time.
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