Vodochody - Aero Vodochody Aerospace, the largest Czech aircraft manufacturer, is developing a new plane called L-169 AJT (Advanced Jet Trainer). The company hopes that the new plane would allow it to become once more one of the world's most respected producers of military jet trainers.
L-169 is an upgrade of Aero Vodochody's L-39 Albatros. Hundreds of L-39 jets are still being used in the USA, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand or Algeria.
"Compared to L-39, we are offering an uncomparably more comfortable and effective jet trainer," said Aero Vodochody project manager Martin Mamula, adding that the new model will aim at current L-39 users.
The L-169's structure and design is derived from the L-159 Alca fighter jet, Mamula said.
The most striking new feature of the L-169 AJT are the fuel tanks placed inside its wings. This so-called "wet wing" technology has increased the L-169 AJT's range to 1,900 kilometers, compared to the two-seat L-159 Alca's 1,300 kilometers.
Some clients have their jet training space far away from their bases or simply prefer to spend more time in the air, explained Mamula, adding that more efficient jet trainers have a combat capability and it is thus only up to the client how they are put in use.
Before Aero started to develop the L-169 AJT, it carried out market research among L-39 Albatros users, which showed that there was a demand for a new, more effective model.
The L-169 AJT comes with a Czech electronic system as well as other Czech-made equipment.
"It is a new generation of the Albatros jet trainer, which is capable of carrying out combat tasks. If the client wishes so, of course," said Aero Vodochody senior manager Petr Rehor.