Aero Vodochody Selecting Suppliers For New L-39NG

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After stopping production more than 20 years ago, Aero Vodochody is preparing to bring an updated version of the L-39 Albatros jet trainer back to the market. In the L-39NG, a William FJ44-4M will replace the Ivchenko AI-25 found in the original. The new model will also come with a lighter airframe, wet wings and modern avionics. Aero Vodochody has selected Evektor-Aerotechnik, another Czech aircraft manufacturer, best known to U.S. pilots for its light-sport aircraft, to build the nose and tail assembly. “L-39 has built a great reputation on the market of jet training aircraft and the new L-39NG with the modern systems and technologies brings further benefits to air forces,” says Vladimír Matela, managing director of Evektor-Aerotechnik.

Almost 3,000 of the single-engine, two-seat jets were made from 1971 to 1996, mostly serving as primary trainers for Soviet-affiliated air forces. Some were also used in ground attack roles. The relatively low-cost jet has been popular with private jet demonstration teams. The Breitling, Black Diamond and Patriots jet teams all fly the L-39. Breitling and Black Diamond have reportedly contracted to have their L-39s upgraded to the NG spec. Aero expects to make its first customer deliveries in 2019. More than 200 of the Soviet-era jets are registered in the United States, mostly in the experimental category.

Photo Credit: CS92

Update: A previous version of this story erroneously reported that the original L-39 was powered by a Garrett turbofan.

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