The air force is thought to have possessed up to 24 platforms originally, with first deliveries dating from 1980, but before the new delivery may have been operating as few as 18.
The L-39s acquired recently were delivered in mid-2003 but the deal only came to light in February. Sources following development of the Vietnamese Air Force told JDW that these are second-hand aircraft acquired for about $600,000 per unit for an overall value of $6 million.
The platforms will require some upgrade, these sources said, but details of this planned programme are unknown.
The 910th Pilot Training Regiment, based at Nha Trang Air Base, operates the air force's L-39 fleet. Nearly all flight training took place in the former Soviet Union until 1991 but has since then been conducted exclusively in Vietnam.
Mi-17 of the Vietnam (photo : Jetphotos)
The defence force's air power capability has also been boosted with the delivery in February of one Mil Mi-17 multirole medium helicopter from Russia's Kazan Helicopter Plant. A second Mi-17 is due for delivery this month to complete the order. However, neither the cost nor the variant obtained is known.