Czech aircraft company AERO Vodochody has confirmed the delivery of three modernised L-39ZA Albatros aircraft to Kano, Nigeria.

The delivery is part of a contract to upgrade the three Nigerian Army aircraft.

In July 2020, the L-39ZA Albatros aircraft were moved in an Antonov An-124 transport aircraft from their base in Kano to Pardubice Airport in the Czech Republic.

After two years of overhaul and related works at the Aero hangars, the aircraft flew on their axis to reach their home base in Nigeria.

Three Aero test pilots covered the 5,000km route from Vodochody to Kano in four days.

While each pilot spent 13 hours in the air, they stopped over at Dijon (France), Valencia (Spain), Ghardaie (Algeria), Tamanrasset (Algeria), and Agadez (Niger), before reaching Nigeria.

In a statement, the company noted that this rare method of delivering the aircraft involved multiple roadblocks due to the long distance and challenging weather conditions.

The upgraded features of the Nigerian aircraft include an electronic flight instrument system that facilitates the digital display of flight data in the cockpit and a heads-up display.

The new additions will enable pilots to train in a fully digital cockpit before operating the JF-17 fighter aircraft.

Aero regional sales director Vladan Resner said: “Flights on their own axis are much more demanding organisationally, especially in terms of logistics and the requirements for coordination of individual activities.

“Not only is it necessary to arrange permission for military aircraft to fly over the territory of all states, but also to provide additional support such as escort aircraft with crew and mechanics, fuel and oxygen supply at all stops, or to ensure the safety of the crew during stopovers.

“All of this requires the perfect synergy of the entire team of experts not only from Aero, but also from other external institutions, which in this case worked perfectly.”

Aero is engaged with its customers over the procurement of its latest L-39NG aircraft, following the receipt of necessary approvals.