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The Indian Navy’s Aero L-39 Albatros trainer aircraft serves multiple purposes for India’s defence establishment. Owned by a private company, this aircraft operates under an Indian Navy serial number, simplifying operations and bypassing the need for civil certifications.

The L-39, first displayed publicly at Aero India 2023 as a static exhibit, boasts the registration IN091. This aircraft previously held the US civil registration NX39MX before being deregistered in December 2020 and exported to India.

The L-39’s role extends far beyond adversary pilot training for the Indian Navy. It plays a crucial role in projects undertaken by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Notably, the L-39 will be a key participant in the second phase of flight trials for the DRDO’s Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) designed for the Tejas MkII fighter program.

The L-39’s versatility allows the DRDO to leverage it for various testing purposes. In addition to the IRST trials, it can be used for other defence technology evaluations.

Furthermore, the Indian Air Force (IAF) benefits from the L-39’s capabilities. It serves as a valuable tool for adversary training exercises, simulating the performance of potential enemy aircraft during air combat manoeuvres. The L-39 can also be deployed for target towing missions, providing realistic aerial targets for IAF pilots to hone their combat skills.

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