Czech airframer Aero Vodochody has seen something of a turnaround in fortunes in recent years, with the upgraded L-39NG with Williams FJ44-4M turbofan and revised cockpit avionics revitalizing its offering in the military trainer market, as well as the restart of L-159 production. L-159s have also become combat-proven during operations with the Iraqi air force.
This year the company teamed with IAI to produce a fighter/attack version of the L-159 aimed at answering the U.S. Air Force’s OA-X requirement. It was unveiled this week at Farnborough 2018 as the F/A-259 Striker. Powered by a Honeywell F124 turbofan, the Striker has an avionics suite provided by IAI that offers advanced combat capabilities. IAI can also provide an Elta multi-mode radar if required.
Meanwhile, Aero Vodochody (Hall 1, Stand 1170) announced that its L-39NG trainer has logged orders from SkyTech and RSW Aviation. SkyTech signed an agreement for 10 L-39NGs, including an option for an additional six aircraft. The aircraft will be available to SkyTech customers for flight training by the hour, as well as through short-, mid-, and long-term leasing options.
RSW Aviation, which is a U.S. military training provider, signed a letter of intent (LOI) for 12 L-39NGs and an additional upgrade of six legacy L-39 into the similar L-39CW variant. Aero Vodochody also agreed to leverage the skills of RSW Aviation and its affiliate companies for military systems integration into the L-39NG/CW fleet. Additionally, RSW can perform operational support for L-39NG overseas customers.
Executive v-p of the L-39NG program, Marco Venanzetti, explained that a new training program, which focuses on the “digital native generation” of millennials and generation Z, is based on using new methods and tools such as lessons through mobile applications and gamification to be more effective. Additionally, participants will be trained through two stages, focusing on how to fly and how to fight. The flying stage features 142 training events, while the fighting stage is broken into two sections that teach trainees how to fight individually in their own aircraft (70 training events) and as a team (68 training events).