published: 11.12.2013, 11:15 | updated: 11.12.2013 11:17:50
Prague - Czech aircraft producer Aero Vodochody Aerospace is developing the concept of new aircraft L-169 which will have more Czech-made equipment and longer flying range compared with the older L-159 version, news servers iDnes and Aktualne said today.
The design philosophy of the new model is based on the older L-39 Albatros aircraft which is still used in a number of countries.
The prototype should start flying in 2015.
"This is radical modernisation," iDnes quotes Martin Mamula, the military aircraft project manager at Aero Vodochody, as saying.
The important components are hidden inside the plane, including the so-called integral fuel tanks whose walls form the wings' actual structure, Mamula said.
The tanks in the plane's body have a capacity of 1,300 kilogrammes of fuel. The capacity of the tanks in wings is further 600 kilogrammes.
The plane's flying range will increase markedly thanks to the fuel tanks in wings. Besides, the aerodynamic drag, caused by tanks attached to the lower part of wings, will be eliminated.
The plane's flying range will grow by about 600 kilometres compared with the range of the L-159 plane.
The single-seat L-159A plane can fly 1,570 kilometres without additional fuel tanks and 2,530 kilometres with the tanks. The flying range of the two-seat L-159B version, which exists only in a prototype, is about 1,300 kilometres without additional fuel tanks.
The L-169 name encompasses not only the development of a new plane, but also many partial modernisations that could be used on their own.
The original L-159 Alka aircraft, developed since 1992, is like a large toy construction set, which makes its modernisation easier, Mamula said.
Alka is now used only by the Czech military. The Defence Ministry is using only 24 of the original 72 planes which it has ordered for Kc52bn.
"L-159 was produced primarily as a single-seat light multi-purpose combat aircraft, and only then its training version started to be developed, which is the reason why sales are low," Petr Rehor, the director of strategy at Aero Vodochody, told iDnes.
"As regards L-169, we primarily want to produce a two-seat training plane with a secondary combat role because this is what our clients might need," Rehor said.
He defined the target group of clients as satisfied users of L-39 who also have money to buy a modern state-of-the-art combat aircraft such as the Russian Su-30 fighter.
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