4 June 2019 – AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. delivered to the Czech Army three two-seat L-159T2 aircraft improved by a number of major upgrades to meet the new requirements of the Czech Air Force for advanced pilot training and military operations. These aircraft will replace the L-39ZA aircraft currently serving at 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav, which end their service in the army this year after decades of successful operation.
The handover ceremony of the last of the three L-159T2 aircraft took place at the Aero premises on June 4, with attendance of representatives of the Czech Air Force, Čáslav Air Base and Aero Vodochody and in the presence of certification authorities. “Delivery of the L-159T2 is an important step in the L-159 program because it significantly expands the capability and technological maturity of this advanced training and combat platform. I believe the L-159T2 service in the Czech Air Force will confirm the high quality of the aircraft,” said Dieter John, President & CEO of Aero Vodochody.
“The takeover of the L-159T2 represents an important milestone for the Czech Air Force. The two-seat version of this aircraft will be used for advanced training of young pilots. It will enable them to switch faster to supersonic Gripens. I hope that the new aircraft, delivered by our long-term partner Aero Vodochody, will help us with this process significantly,” said the commander of the 21st Tactical Air Force Base Čáslav, Colonel Petr Tománek.
L-159T2 aircraft have several significant improvements, mostly in equipment of both cockpits and in the fuel system, and are fully NVG compatible. Each cockpit is further equipped with two Multi-Function Displays and upgraded version of an ejection seat VS-20. The aircraft is also adapted to offer a pressure refuelling capability. The Grifo radar, commonly used in single seat version, is now integrated also into the dual seat L-159T2 as well as the self-protection systems (countermeasures and radar warning receiver).
The T2 airframe has a newly built central and forward fuselage; rest of the airframe comes from older single-seat L-159 aircraft of the Czech Army. The Czech Air Force ordered three L-159T2 in 2016. The order also includes delivery of ground equipment, software, and spare parts, as well as training of ground and flight personnel. The first flight of the new two-seat aircraft took place on August 2, 2018 at Vodochody Airport.
L-159 aircraft mates Aero’s long-term experience in development and production of military jet aircraft, in the category of which Aero represents historically the largest producer in the world, with latest advances in avionics, engine and aircraft systems technology. The L-159 is a light multi-role combat aircraft designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions. The aircraft is equipped with a state-of-the-art multi-mode radar for all-weather, day and night operations and can carry 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.
Photo courtesy Aero – © Jan Čadil