Czech airframer Aero Vodochody has confirmed two customers for most, possibly all, of the L-159 advanced light combat aircraft (ALCA) that were surplus to Czech air force requirements. American tactical flight support contractor Draken International will acquire up to 28 aircraft, redesignated L-159E. Meanwhile, a deal with Iraq finally reached the contract stage last month, an Aero Vodochody spokesman told AIN at the Farnborough Air Show.
Czech Air Force
Aero Vodochody launched a new version of the popular L-39 jet trainer in Farnborough yesterday. The L-39NG will be powered by a Williams FJ44-4M turbofan.
Other changes from the original version include a new wet wing, lighter structure, single-piece canopy, and modern cockpit. Company officials told AIN that they hoped to finish the prototype by the end of 2016, certify the L-39NG in 2017 and begin deliveries in 2018.
Iraq has agreed to acquire 28 Aero Vodochody L-159 advanced trainer/light attack aircraft from the Czech Republic, the two countries announced on October 15.
On May 1 the JAS 39C/D Gripens of the Czech air force’s 211.tl took over NATO’s Baltic Air Policing detachment, which provides a two-aircraft, 24-hour, 15-minute readiness armed quick reaction alert (QRA) for the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The four-month deployment of four Gripens to Siauliai air base in Lithuania represents the type’s first out-of-country operational tasking.
Czech manufacturer Aero Vodochody, founded in 1919, probably lays a fair claim to being the oldest airframer still active today. The company’s days may be numbered, however, if it doesn’t start turning a profit next year.
The Czech government has pledged $13.5 million over three years to a consortium of 16 companies to build and market a nine- to 14-seat twin turboprop dubbed the EV-55. Organized by the Czech Aviation Manufacturers’ Association and led by Kunovice-based Evektor, the program would awaken a virtually inactive Czech civil aerospace industry and help regain some of the status it enjoyed during the peak of Let 410 and Zlin glider production.
Aero Vodochody is showing key elements of its L-159B Advanced Training System making their international debut here at the Farnborough air show (Hall 3 Stand D17).