AERO Vodochody Aerospace has signed a contract for the modernization and overhaul of four L-39 aircraft owned by Angola. This is the first contracted upgrade of the L-39C with the new American engine, which is also used in Aero’s new L-39NG aircraft. In addition to the re-engining, the avionics equipment will be upgraded and the airframes will be overhauled. The modernization is expected to start in the second half of this year. Angola is Aero’s new customer for the upgrade and overhaul of four L-39C aircraft. The scope of the contract includes airframe overhaul, avionics upgrades and, in particular, remotorization consisting of the replacement of the original engines with new FJ44-4M engines from Williams International, which are used in the new Aero L-39NG aircraft. At a time of continued uncertainty in the supply and support of the original AI-25TL engine from the Ukrainian company Motor-Sich, remotorisation represents a quality and risk-free route for L-39 users.
The modernization is expected to start in the second half of this year with the first aircraft expected to be completed in 2025. The contract also includes services that include training of ground and flight personnel, supply of spare parts, ground equipment, flight gear and more. The aircraft will be transported in containers and handed back upon completion in the same manner. With the conclusion of this contract, Aero has consolidated its position as a supplier of pilot training solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and supported its other business activities in the region. Aero produced over 2,900 L-39 Albatros aircraft, hundreds of which are still flying around the world. The Albatros are historically the most successful jet trainer aircraft. But many countries also use them for other missions, such as reconnaissance missions or border protection.
“I consider this contract another historic achievement for our company, as we will be integrating for the first time a new engine from Williams into the previous generation L-39 aircraft, which is part of the delivery of the new L-39NG. Thus, we are coming to market with a new product that is close to the developed standards of the new L-39NG aircraft and will allow current L-39 users a smooth introduction of the L-39NG aircraft in the near future. The upgraded aircraft, designated L-39CW, will be used primarily for pilot training in Angola. Our design ensures the highest quality and reliability in all delivery and service, which is why Angola has chosen to work with us on the upgrade. We firmly believe that this type of modernization will be implemented for other customers as well,” says Filip Kulštrunk, Aero’s Executive Vice President and CCO.
In recent years, Aero has completed maintenance, repair and upgrade orders for L-39C and L-39ZA aircraft from four foreign customers in Africa and Central Asia, and the Bulgarian Air Force’s L-39s are now undergoing overhaul and upgrade. The L-39 Albatros aircraft are expected to be replaced in the future by the new Aero L-39NG aircraft, which, thanks to its successful certification, is in great demand by users worldwide. AERO Vodochody Aerospace a.s. focuses on the development, production, maintenance and improvement of civil and military aircraft and is the largest aircraft manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aircraft manufacturers in the world. With 11,000 aircraft produced in its 100 years of existence, hundreds of L-39 Albatros aircraft still in service with dozens of military operators and a number of demo teams, and especially with its new L-39NG aircraft, AERO has established itself as a leader in the global jet trainer market.