AERO Vodochody Aerospace is set to be able to start delivering the re-engining of the L-39 aircraft to customers from next year. The development stage of the L-39CW Project with the FJ44-4M Engine, made by Williams International, and with new avionics was successfully accomplished by flying and ground tests.
Among existing users of L-39s, there are currently about 40 countries. Almost 600 of those aircraft are still in operation. “Based on big existing fleet and our approach of supporting L-39s users and building business relationships with them, we developed a package, available for the customers to improve operating capabilities by new engine and also new avionics,” said Giuseppe Giordo, president of Aero Vodochody. The aircraft's avionics are prepared to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft and can be tailored to the customer's requirements to a great extent.
The L-39CW would provide also an intermediate step to the full brand new L39NG with the same FJ44-4M engine and same avionics, but with more features on top of new airframe. Such a solution introduces an opportunity to build up new facilities in advance for the operation of the new L-39NG aircraft and train pilots in advance. Aero also offers its clients with later reuse of both the FJ44-4M engine and the new avionics in the newly manufactured L-39NG aircraft, allowing the clients to strategically distribute in time this considerable investment.
The aircraft development culminated with ground and flight tests that were carried out with the purpose to measure the pressure field inside the fuselage at the engine air intake. These tests are required by Williams International and they are also part of the requirements on verification of capability of the engine installation. “The measurement results confirmed that the operating parameters declared by the manufacturer are guaranteed even when housed in the L-39C fuselage,” said Marco Venanzetti, the head of L-39NG program.
The L-39CW project entered the last stage of the certification program, meaning check flights under the supervision of the certification authority. Aero expects issuance of a type certificate for the new product by the end of 2017. In 2018, deliveries of the so much-anticipated L-39C reconstructions to the upgraded version of the L-39CW may start. There are currently already underway promising negotiations with several customers on tens of re-engined aircraft and Aero plan to contact other.
For L-39 operators who want to increase the performance and availability of their aircraft, AERO Vodochody Aerospace offers the possibility to re-engine existing airframes with the new FJ44-4M Williams International engine and to equip the aircraft with new avionics. Compared to original AI-25TL engine, the FJ44-4M has faster acceleration, lower weight, requires no APU and has lower fuel consumption. One of possible usage of L-39 CW is as an intermediate step before acquisition of brand new L-39NG with the same engine and avionics.
The L-39NG aircraft is a modern and effective trainer designed as a unified, comprehensive training system for modern air forces. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39, but utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. Power is provided by the highly modern FJ44-4M engine supplied with the TAP Blue engine support service to ensure unprecedented airworthiness and predictable maintenance costs. The aircraft's avionics are prepared to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft and can be tailored to the customer's requirements to a great extent. The L-39NG is equipped with five mounting points for weapons. The aircraft also features a broad range of simulation technologies, including the integration into high-tech tactical simulation centers with the goal of increasing training efficiency. The strategic partner in the L-39NG project is company Omnipol that contributes 50% financially to the aircraft’s development.
AERO Vodochody Aerospace a.s. focuses on the design and manufacturing of military and civil aircraft and is the largest aviation manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aerospace companies worldwide. In the field of military aircraft, Aero has been a reliable long-term partner to many of the world's air forces and it has a strong position on the market of military training and light combat aircraft. With a huge existing fleet of L-39 and with a brand-new aircraft, L-39NG, Aero is positioning itself as a leader in the jet training market.
In the field of civil aviation, Aero partners with many of the world's largest manufacturers in a diverse range of projects. More recently, Aero became a full partner in several risk-sharing programs, taking responsibility not only for the production of structures but also for development.