Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody Aerospace successfully continues in testing phase of the L-39NG development. Static tests, verifying strength of the airframe, have started on the second produced prototype in the Czech Aerospace Research Centre in Prague. On the first flight prototype, which made first flight on December 22, 2018, ground vibration tests are in progress, and this aircraft will continue in flight tests from this September.
L-39NG ground vibration tests on the first prototype, also carried out by experts from the Czech Aerospace Research Centre (Výzkumný a zkušební letecký ústav, VZLU), are taking place directly in Aero. Ground vibration tests will be carried out on aircraft with installed weapons so they are valid also for L-39NG Light Attack version.
In October, the fourth produced L-39NG aircraft will join flight tests. The third produced prototype will be handed over to VZLU for fatigue tests at the end of this year. In addition to those four L-39NG, Aero has so called L-39NG Technological Demonstrator, which is L-39CW now upgraded by additional new L-39NG components. This technological demonstrator with fuselage number 2626 has already passed more than 40 test flights as part of L-39NG development.
Aero modified the schedule of development and subsequent certification of L-39NG. The new timing is driven mainly by customer demands and its aim is to increase the efficiency of the overall certification process in terms of costs and administrative requirements.
An improvement of the certification plan is to omit the certification of the L-39NG in basic training configuration and head straight towards certification of the full trainer configuration − capable also of an advanced and LIFT training − scheduled for the third quarter of 2020.
“There are two main reasons that led us to change the plan. The full trainer configuration has received such outstanding market resonance that we decided to merge the basic and full trainer certification, because majority of our customers are interested in a full trainer aircraft, in which pilots can be exposed to complex operational scenarios thanks to a state-of-the-art Virtual Training System. Second reason is to reduce costs by combining two steps into one,” said Dieter John, President & CEO of Aero Vodochody.
“Progress of the L-39NG project to the next stage and subsequent acquisition of an internationally respected certification is a key step for our dealing with business partners,” said Jiří Podpěra, president of the OMNIPOL company, the strategic partner of the L-39NG project.
This new certification schedule is in line with the initial plan to start delivering the first serial production aircraft to customers in 2020, however in the full trainer configuration. It also retains another significant milestone, which is Light Attack certification in the third quarter of 2021.
“Virtual Training System (VTS) is considered a key technological game changer that together with Helmet Mounted Display allow L-39NG to enter a new era of pilot training,” added Marco Venanzetti, Vice President of Aero Vodochody for L-39NG. Flight tests of VTS start on L-39NG Technological Demonstrator.
The change in the L-39NG certification schedule has been reflected in the flight test plan that will considerably speed up this autumn with the involvement of second flying and first pre-serial aircraft MSN 7004 in the testing activities.
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 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. The L-39NG is equipped with five hard-points for weapons. The aircraft also features a broad range of simulation technologies, including the integration into high-tech tactical simulation centres with the goal to increase training efficiency. Strategic partner of the L-39NG project is Czech company Omnipol.
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 collaborates 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.
Since 1934, OMNIPOL, a.s. has been a reliable global systems integrator and supplier of military, security and aviation systems. In addition to aviation technology and aviation training systems, Omnipol’s primary focus is on defence and security electronics. Omnipol initiated a new phase of its development when it purchased ERA, a.s., creating the conditions for the rapid development of a new generation of unique passive (invisible) tracking and recognition systems called VERA-NG.
The system is complemented by other types of passive systems (such as SDD) and thereby offers a comprehensive solution for the monitoring of air, sea and land space on the principle of “seeing without being seen”. Omnipol is also a supplier of technological production units and services for both the defence and food industries.