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Saft was recently selected by Aero Vodochody Aerospace, a leading designer and manufacturer of military and civilian aircraft, for engine starting and emergency backup batteries for the L-39NG jet trainer program. Saft has worked in partnership with Aero Vodochody to develop a new 44 Ah version of its ULM (Ultra Low Maintenance) battery with aerobatic capabilities. It’s not the first time Saft has worked with Aero Vodochody; Saft already supplies batteries for the L-159 and the existing L-39 platforms.

In the L-39NG concept, Aero Vodochody is integrating the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment with the proven aerodynamic features of the original L-39 Albatros jet training aircraft. The firm’s objective is to deliver a multi-role jet training aircraft with excellent handling qualities, easy maintenance, robust design and low operational costs.

Saft will supply one battery system for engine starting and emergency backup power on board each aircraft. Saft developed a 44 Ah version of its ULM cell that avoids electrolyte spilling when the aircraft is inverted during aerobatic maneuvers. ULM batteries have the advantage of low weight and high reliability over a long service life, with extended maintenance intervals to reduce operating costs.

Manufactured in the Czech Republic, the L-39NG is designed to be a highly efficient trainer and light attack aircraft, able to serve as a basic, advanced and LIFT trainer thanks to advanced avionics. In addition to having its air inlets positioned above the wing in order to prevent foreign object damage to the engine, the L-39NG also features a new Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engine with FADEC controls and electrical starting, eliminating the costly jet fuel starter; four underwing and one under-fuselage weapon pylons for a wide variety of gun, bomb and rocket armament and external fuel tanks; integrated digital avionics with glass cockpit for increased training effectiveness; a new escape system with “zero-zero” ejection seats; and a redesigned airframe with fatigue life of up to 15,000 flight hours.

This year Saft delivered the first battery for pre-serial production of the L-39NG aircraft to Aero Vodochody’s facility in the Czech Republic. Aero Vodochody’s ULM batteries are being manufactured in Saft’s Bordeaux factory in the Southwest of France, where they currently have more than 400 different types of batteries in production for a wide range of aircraft, including jetliners, military jets, regional jets, turboprops, business jets, helicopters and drones.

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