On 15 March Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko announced that Ukraine’s defense enterprises would soon create a new light strike aircraft to replace the Soviet-made L-39, Su-25 and MiG-29 aircraft.
During a visit to the Ivchenko-Progress engine design bureau located in Zaporozhye, President Poroshenko got acquainted with the “mock-ups” of a platform for a new aircraft, which has been given the programme name of Legkiy Boiviy Litak, which is Ukrainian for “Lightweight Combat Aircraft” and abbreviated as LBL.
The new Ukrainian light strike aircraft “looks similar” to the Chinese L-15 supersonic training and light attack aircraft and Iranian Shafaq subsonic aircraft project. At the moment, the “new” aircraft remains at the conceptual design stage.
The LBL is a two-seat training and light attack aircraft being developed by National Aerospace University – Kharkiv Aviation Institute in partnership with the Motor Sich. Reports from Poroshenko’s visit to the Ivchenko facility stated that the two engines would be “a design based on the AI-225-25 or AI-322F and the avionics would be of both Western and Ukrainian manufacture”.
The LBL can perform light-attack and reconnaissance duties, carrying a combat load of 3,000 kg. Maximum true airspeed is 1040 km/h, service ceiling is 14,000 metres, service range 780 km. The aircraft can carry weapons, suspended fuel tanks, reconnaissance pods and a range of electronic warfare pods including radar jammers and infrared countermeasures.