The Czech Republic’s latest domestically manufactured jet is cleared for European skies following approval from the country’s military regulator.
Announced on 18 July, the validation from the Czech Republic’s Military Aviation Authority was carried out in line with continent-wide NATO/European Defence Agency standards.
Aero says it has already secured two sales agreements, with Vietnam and Hungary, to provide each country with 12 of the single-engined L-39NGs. All Vietnam’s jets are the training variant, while Hungary has opted for eight trainers and four in a reconnaissance configuration.
The NG will ultimately be available in three variants: trainer, reconnaissance/patrol and light-attack.
Aero says it expects to begin deliveries to Vietnam in July 2023, with Hungary’s jets arriving the following year. A separate deal with the Czech air force is also being worked on, the manufacturer says.
Meanwhile, Aero says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with its first USA-based partner, Patriots Global Training. The California-based company offers military pilot training services using eight legacy L-39 jets.
“Through this collaboration… we have a unique opportunity to establish the presence of Aero in the US market,” says chief executive Viktor Sotona, which will be the first opportunity to bring the upgraded L-39NG to North America.
David Patrick, Patriots chief executive, lauds the L-39NG as “an incredible flight-training solution”, adding: “Today solidifies and expands our ability to provide cost-effective, advanced pilot training in the United States.”
Patriots says it intends to offer its L-39NG trainer services under the USA’s Foreign Military Sales programme.
Aero says the L-39NG incorporates significant improvements over the legacy model, including composite materials, a 15,000 flight-hour service life and an embedded virtual training system.
For the roughly 700 legacy L-39s still in service with 60 countries around the world, Aero says it can offer a modernisation package involving engine and avionics upgrades.
Sotona, who arrived as chief executive less than a year ago, notes that his current business strategy is to focus on converting customers already using the L-39 to the NG airframe. “Our sales strategy is to address the existing markets,” he says.