L3 Commercial Aviation has placed an order for up to 240 new Piper aircraft to expand and modernize the training fleet at its airline academies.

Piper said the contract represents the largest civilian fleet order in the company’s 82-year history. Announced at the Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida, on April 2, the contract includes delivery of 26 aircraft this year, beginning immediately. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the agreement.

The Vero Beach, Florida, airframer is to deliver 19 single-piston Piper Archers and seven twin-piston Piper Seminoles to L3 this year. Archers and Seminoles are fitted with the Garmin G1000 NXi integrated avionics suite. New aircraft will be based at L3’s airline academies in Sanford, Florida; Ponte de Sor, Portugal; and Great Britain.

“This significant investment in expanding and modernizing our fleet with these brand-new aircraft will help us in our aspiration to provide the highest-quality training while meeting the increasing international demand for new pilots from our airline customers,” said L3 Airline Academy Vice President Geoff van Klaveren.

The agreement exceeds the seven-year, 152-aircraft order placed by Fanmei Aviation Technologies, Piper’s exclusive dealer in China, in February 2018. Fanmei is a subsidiary of a leading aviation training provider in that country.