Aero Vodochody is selling military aircraft again

Aero Vodochody is selling military aircraft again
Author: Martin Brázdil, flickr|Caption: L-39NG, NATO Days Ostrava 2016
08 / 06 / 2018, 10:30

The traditional producer of the Czech aircraft Aero Vodochody has changed it’s strategy in 2016. The company decided to move from the supplier of aircraft components for foreign aircraft producers and to become producer of own military aircraft again.

„Our last trully military aircraft has been produced in 2003 (the L-159 ALCA). Yet Aero holds a very important heritage, the company was founded nearly 100 years ago. It held nearly 70 % in the domain of pilot training all around the world. That’s why we found it would be a shame not to use the advantage of the incredible history, human abilities and capacities, and the fact that the company has a great portfolio of products with the military training aircraft. Concretely we talk about the models L-39 and L-159. In case of the first one we are working on a completely new variant that the market seeks for another 15 years. It is to be a trainer jet which should serve to train young pilots for the new generation of combat aircraft,“ the executive vice-president of Aero Vodochody Marco Venazetti said in an interview published by CTK.

  • So the L-39NG is not just a modified and completed variant of the original L-39 Albatros?

Certainly not, it is a completely new aircraft. We are considering the name, even if it is not in the order of the day. We have changed the frame, design, systems, main parts, fuel injection and engins. It is a completely new aircraft which only takes the aerodynamic concept from it’s predecessor. That one has proven itself and is appreciated around the globe. Hundreds of the L-39s are still flying, so we decided to keep that heritage.

  • Was it difficult to start such a new program?

Yes, it requested high involvement of creators, production capacities and investments. That was the reason why the president and CEO Giuseppe Giordo decided to found a standalone company organization which pushes ahead this project exclusively. At the same time this program allows us to get back into the military business, which will make us big player in this sector again. Even now many countries are lively interested in what we are preparing.

As we speak of training, the solutions we offer are not just the aircraft. The training itself is a complex matter concerning the machines, simulators, land background, training systems, and instruction of students directly in cockpits. We do not develop an aircraft, but the whole training concept. We unite all assets of the modern training, the aircraft itself would not be enough.

We aspire to create such a strategic line that would last for another 20 or 30 years. We put accent to new methods of instruction, new technologies, new marketing tools, e-learning, required skills. It is a big task, and we would like to complete it at 100 %.

  • What’s the main difference between the civil and military aviation markets?

The first one is based especially on engineering and industrial production. The development possibilies are not very broad, and a large portion of the production is spread between a number of similar and competitive companies. While the military business is completely different in the sense of technological recoverability, integrity of projects and also in the company image. To make it, it is necessary to control the entire supply chain and work with the final customers. Every development project is linked with an enormous engineering effort, and an application of a long-term know-how. A strong aircraft producer cannot exist without such domain. Aero would like to reach 70 % of military sales and 30 % of civil sales. It has been the opposite untill now; 70 % of civil against 30 % of military. The turnover of this relation is the unique possibility to up a long-term and most sustainable company model.

The civil sector ensures production and long-term contracts; this market is very stable for let’s say 20 years. On the contrary the military sector is in motion. Sometimes you sell 10 aircraft per month, and than you do not sell a single one in a year. You can build on the civil aviation, which is why we want to keep it. At the same time we follow the new challenges. We seek for a new production program, yet a program which would make us evolve and offer us new possibilities. None the less our priority is the return to military business. We believe we merit an important place and recognition in the world of military trainer jets, because we have a history to reassume.

  • So it would be impossible for you to return to the world markets without the military business?

When you look at the aircraft and space business you will find big companies with revenues in billions of euros. Aero does not play in this first league and we never will, our possibilites are not comparable. Yet in the sectors of military aviation we can become a global player. We can be the choice number one for training of new pilots, where the competition is much smaller. That’s an opportunity. Which is why we decided to move in this direction.

Source: „The Czech Aircraft write history. Since 100 years,“ by CTK in the Protext service

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