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Air Platforms

Aero completes development of new L-39CW-variant Albatros

20 November 2017

Aero Vodochody has completed development of a new variant of its L-39 trainer and light attack aircraft designated the L-39CW, the company announced on 20 November.

The L-39CW pictured offers retrofitted improvements to the baseline L-39 in the form of a new engine and modern avionics. (Aero Vodochody)The L-39CW pictured offers retrofitted improvements to the baseline L-39 in the form of a new engine and modern avionics. (Aero Vodochody)

The L-39CW involves retrofitting an existing L-39 with a more powerful and more efficient Williams International FJ44-4M jet engine as well as modern avionics. According to Aero, ground and flight trails have now been completed and the configuration is ready for delivery.

While the baseline L-39 is in service with a number of countries, Aero has given no indication as to which have signed up for the L-39CW enhancement, except to say that it is in negotiations for the retrofit of “tens of aircraft”. There are approximately 600 L-39s flying today with the air forces of Algeria, Angola, Armenia Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Egypt Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya (most of which are believed to have been withdrawn from use), Lithuania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Russia, Slovakia, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Yemen.

“Based on big existing fleet and our approach of supporting L-39s users and building business relationships with them, we developed a package, available for the customers to improve operating capabilities by new engine and also new avionics,” said Giuseppe Giordo, president of Aero Vodochody.

The L-39CW is the latest in a long list of L-39 variants that includes the recently launched L-39NG. First unveiled at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow, the L-39NG features the same FJ44-4M engine as the L-39CW, as well as other improvements. The main differentiator between the L-39CW and L-39NG appears to be that the former offers upgrades to existing airframes, while the latter is a new-build solution that offers some additional enhancements.

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