After undergoing a series of ground tests, the first L-39NG full prototype rejoined the flight-test programme on September 14. One week later, the prototype temporarily suspended its flight-test operations in order to visit the NATO Days in Ostrava, where it was presented for the first time to the general public on a static display – with complete configuration, new paintwork, and armament.
Two years ago, Aero Vodochody announced a target of introducing the L-39NG to the public for the first time at the 2019 NATO Days. Aero was general partner of the airshow for a third time in a row, and this year celebrates its 100th anniversary. President and CEO of Aero Vodochody Dieter John said: “The L-39NG programme is running on schedule, which is good news for our customers. We have a very clear programme of flight and ground tests and subsequent certification. I am absolutely confident that we will receive the type certification for full trainer configuration in the third quarter of 2020 and the light-attack version in the third quarter of 2021.”
NATO Days in Ostrava was an opportunity to present the aircraft not only to general public, but also to customers. Dozens of military and government delegations from various countries attended the event this year, including multiple potential customers, both traditional L-39 users and new customers. Jiří Podpěra, president of the OMNIPOL company, the strategic partner of the L-39NG project, explained: “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. The first public appearance of the L-39NG at NATO days is a great opportunity to present the new aircraft to potential customers.”
L-39NG tests continue
Three aircraft are supporting the L-39NG flight-test programme. The L-39CW technology demonstrator with the same engine, avionics system and configuration started L-39NG flight testing in March this year. The technology demonstrator has been undergoing intensive avionic test, and stall and spin investigation. The first full prototype 7001 started pitot static and basic performance testing in September. Serial 7004 will join 7001 in flight testing before end of this year. All three flying test aircraft will complete the full L-39NG flight-test campaign next summer. After that, serial 7004 will finalise certification flights for full trainer configuration type certificate in the third quarter of 2020, and 7001 will advance to reconfiguration to light-attack version and complete its flight-test programme at the end of summer 2021 and receive its light-attack type certification in the third quarter of 2021.
During the second quarter of this year, prototype serial 7001, presented at NATO Days, underwent ground vibration testing conducted together with the Czech Aerospace Research Centre. The tests have been carried out also with installed weapons and therefore they are valid also for the light-attack version. At the same time, the ground-based static strength tests on prototype 7002 are continuing; at the turn of the year, ground fatigue tests will start on prototype serial 7003.
According to Aero Vodochody, the L-39NG will be the only jet trainer on the market offering a complete syllabus from basic training to advanced and LIFT training.