Will the L-39NG become an export thriller?
This year, AERO Vodochody celebrates one hundred years from its foundation. This iconic company has produced since its foundation tens types of aircraft, including licensed production of the Mig-15, 19 and 21 aircraft. Last year, the company introduced its novelty in a form of the technological demonstrator of L-39NG. A functional plane has already been introduced on the NATO days. This plane could continue successes of its predecessor, the legendary L-39 Albatros, of which 2900 pieces were manufactured.
Czech enterprises as ones of the few in Europe preserved their ability to produce aircraft from A to Z in-house (starting from plane bodies, through drive units, propellers, up to device equipment). We are ranked among the world-powers in the production of aircraft motors or ultra-light planes. Over 70 producers work in the aviation industry now. They are experiencing a period of growth and expanding worldwide. It is also proven by record-breaking numbers of the aviation export from the Czech Republic.
The glory of the domestic aviation production is also a small turbo-prop cargo plane, Let L 410 NG, manufactured by the Czech company Aircraft Industries. Last year, the company obtained a type certificate of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the L-410 NG. The factory from Kunovice is starting its series production now.
The national aviation pride is also training military machines from Vodochody, which we have mentioned above and which have excellent reputation all over the world. But other machines are also popular, such as, for example, the single-seat multi-purpose L-159 Alca light combat aircraft. Let’s focus again, however, on the novelty, L-39NG, which we could see three weeks ago on the NATO Days.
The Aero L-39NG (Next Generation) is a project of a new generation of the Aero L-39 Albatros subsonic training aircraft. The L-39NG comes from the original aerodynamic conception of the L-39, but its constructively and technologically modified body is completed with a new wing with an integral fuel tank, modern device equipment and a fuel unit with higher lifetime. According to the manufacturer, one of the benefits of this aircraft are low purchase and operation costs as compared to the more powerful training aircraft of the M-346 or Jak-130 categories. Together with pilot training, the L-39NG is also designed for the performance of combat, patrol and reconnaissance tasks. The L-39NG technological demonstrator, marked as L-39CW, firstly flew up on 14th September 2015 with a crew consisting of factory pilots Miroslav Schützner and Vladimír Kvarda.
The newly-produced L-39NG aircraft was firstly introduced on 12th October 2018 in the factory of Aero in Vodochody. The first take-off of the L-39NG took place on 22nd December 2018. Nowadays it is waiting for the series production, whereas four pieces have been ordered by the Ministry of Defence for the needs of the Aviation Training Centre in Pardubice. This platform brings splendid possibilities of training fighter pilots on subsonic (significantly cheaper and more economical) planes. According to information from the session of Ministers of Defence of the V4 countries, there is a tendency to offer this platform also for training the pilots of the remaining member states. Let’s wish the AERO Vodochody good luck, because the domestic defence industry clearly shows by this that it has something to offer, what, by the way, is valid for the Tatra vehicles, radars or weapons from CZUB and so on.