Senegal Air Force Orders Four Aero L-39NGs

An impression of an L-39NG in Czech Air Force markings. Aero has gained an order for four L-39NGs from the Senegalese Air Force. Aero Vodochody

AERO VODOCHODY announced on April 4 that it has secured a contract from the Senegalese Air Force for four L-39NG aircraft.  The deal was formally announced by the President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall, during the country’s national Independence Day celebrations.

Aero said that they will be in a light attack configuration, while still maintaining full training capability.  The contract will also provide training of pilots, including conversion, instructor and combat training, maintenance personnel training, spare parts, ground support equipment and logistic support services.  The company expects to deliver the first two aircraft in 2020 and the remaining pair the following year.  Giuseppe Giordo, the president of Aero Vodochody, also stated that: “Currently we also have two additional contracts in a very mature state of negotiation.”

Aero announced that it was launching develop0ment of the L-39NG at the Farnborough Air Show on July 16, 2014.  Although based on the current L-39 airframe, the new L-39NG will add many modern and advanced features, including a new, light and fuel-efficient Williams International FJ44-4M powerplant, giving improved performance in speed, range and endurance.  The cockpit will feature advanced, modular glass cockpit avionics with multi-functional displays, plus new communications systems, in addition to embedded virtual training systems.  It also features a new ‘wet’ wing and use of modern construction materials to reduce overall weight and extend service life.  Instead of the original wing tip tanks, new composite wingtips are being fitted.

On September 14, 2015, an L-39NG development aircraft, serial 2626, converted from an existing L-39C airframe, made its maiden flight from Vodochody.  As this is only a partial conversion to the new standard, it has been designated the L-39CW and is now being used to validate the new engine and avionics installation.  Four L-39NGs to production standard are now being manufactured, of which the first is due to be flown by the end of this year for use as a development aircraft.  The second will be used for static tests and the third for fatigue testing.  The fourth will be the second flying example and is planned to be the first for customer delivery in 2020.