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Aero Vodochody has handed over the first of 16 single-seat L-159 ALCA aircraft to the 21st Tactical Air Force Base, Čáslav. These are undergoing periodic work after sixteen years of operation (PP16), meaning the operation of those light combat aircraft will be extended by another eight years on the basis of a contract with the Czech Military.

A contract for the repairs, valued at 1.6 billion crowns (EUR 60 million), was signed in 2019 at the IDET trade fair in Brno. “We are now delivering the first finished aircraft, we currently have another eight aircraft in different stages of work-in-process and another L-159 should arrive in Aero to be overhauled at the end of this year. Deliveries of aircraft will run at regular intervals until the end of 2022 so as to ensure the operability of the L-159 fleet and the defence capability of the Czech Republic,” said Jan Štechr, Vice President of Aero Vodochody for MRO business.

In addition to the prescribed work, Aero Vodochody will also provide a number of upgrades to the L-159 aircraft, including adjustment for the use of Night Vision Goggles and adaptation of the cockpit in addition to the installation of internal and external airplane lighting (positional, anti-collision and formation lights). These are alongside the installation of an Electronic Standby Instrument System to substitute several standby instruments and provide the pilot with attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and heading data in the event of a panel failure.

The Czech Military currently operates 16 single seat L-159 aircraft, five double-seat L-159T1 and three double-seat L-159T2 for advance training.

Background On the L-159

The L-159 aircraft mates Aero’s long-term experience in development and production of military jet aircraft, the category of which Aero represents historically the largest producer in the world, with the latest advances in avionics, engine and aircraft systems technology. The L-159 is designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions, for which it is equipped with a state-of-the-art multi-mode radar for all-weather, day and night operations while carrying a wide range of NATO standards stores including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs. The two-seat L-159 is a derivate of the single-seat L-159, primarily designed for Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training. The L-159 configuration can also be tailored to customer specific requirements and adapted to needs of basic training as well as combat missions including air-to-ground, patrol and reconnaissance missions.

Jack Richardson