Christmas has come early at the Royal Navy International Air Day HQ with news of the first confirmed participants! The Lithuanian Air Force will make its UK flying display debut with an L-39C Albatros jet trainer at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton on Saturday 13 July. The eastern European air arm is also reprising its popular 2018 static display contribution with examples of the C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft and Mi-8UTV Hip troop transport/search and rescue helicopter.
The L-39 Albatros was a real success for Czech firm Aero Vodochody. During a 25-year production run, 2,900 were built and supplied to almost 50 militaries. Lithuania, plus around a dozen other nations, took delivery of the L-39ZA armed trainer/light attack variant. Its duties include surveying and defending Lithuanian airspace.
The remarkable Mil Mi-8 (NATO codenamed ‘Hip’), winner of the Best Rotary Wing Static Display at Air Day 2018, is the world’s most produced-helicopter: a staggering 17,000-plus examples of the Soviet-origin design having been manufactured. Lithuania only employs three Mi-8s in the troop transport and search and rescue roles.
The C-27J Spartan is a versatile and highly deployable type that can operate from 2000-foot-long airstrips and has a very useful payload capacity of 11,500 kg. One of only three examples operated by this air arm, the Spartan was open to visitors at the 2018 show and proved to be extremely popular.
These very rare contributions get the Royal Navy International Air Day 2019 participation announcements off to the very best of starts and we are sincerely grateful for the support shown by the Lithuanian Air Force. Early bird tickets with no booking fees are now on sale for a limited period only at http://www.store.yeoviltonairday.co.uk/.