Aero Vodochody has commenced prototype and pre-serial production of its L-39NG jet trainer and light-attack platform.
The assembly of the first four L-39NGs had begun “in recent weeks”, comprising three prototype and one pre-serial production model, the Czech company announced Thursday.
One will be used for flight trials with the other two serving as ground-based fatigue platforms of the three prototypes. The pre-serial production aircraft will be delivered to the launch customer, Czech state-owned company LOM Praha.
A demonstrator L-39NG flew for the first time in September 2015 ahead of an initial phase of testing that took place the following year. With the introduction of the three new prototypes and the pre-serial aircraft, certification is expected in 2019 with customer deliveries slated to begin in 2020.
Besides LOM Praha, the L-39NG is also being acquired by the Breitling Jet Team and Draken International's Black Diamond Jet Team.
First unveiled at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow, the L-39NG version of the L-39 Albatross features a more powerful Williams International FJ44-4M engine, a wet wing, a modern cockpit, and a lighter airframe than its legacy predecessor.
The L-39NG is equipped with five hardpoints (compared with two for the baseline L-39) for a variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, as well as other munitions and sensors. It also introduces the option for a gun-pod. As noted by Aero, the L-39NG uses 50% new parts and 50% parts taken from the existing L-39.
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 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.