In the late hours of April 10, the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that it had shot down an L-39 warplane of the Libyan Government of National Accord (LGNA).
According to a press release by the LNA’ media office, the warplane was shot down by the 166th Brigade while it was flying over the outskirt of the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
The warplane reportedly took off from Misrata airbase, east of Tripoli. The airbase is the headquarters of the LGNA’s air force, which operates nine L-39 Albatros trainers / light attack warplanes among other aircraft.
The available information suggests that the LGNA’s warplane was shot down with an anti-aircraft cannon. However, the LNA is known to be operating at least one Soviet-made 2K12 Kub [SA-6] medium-range air-defense system, as well as a variety of man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs).
Last week, the LGNA’s air force began conducting airstrikes on the LNA in an attempt to slow its advance towards Tripoli. In response, the army established a no-fly zone over the western part of the country.
If confirmed, the shot down of the LGNA’s L-39 would mark the beginning of an air war over western Libya. The LGNA’s air force will not likely survive for long in this case. The main reason is the lack of resources and capabilities.