L-159T2 – a new Light Attack and Trainer Jet made its successful first flight

L-159T2 – a new Light Attack and Trainer Jet made its successful first flight
Author: www.aero.cz|Caption: AERO L-159T2
10 / 08 / 2018, 15:00

On 2nd August 2018, the first AERO L-159T2 ALCA (Advanced Light Combat Aircraft) light attack and trainer jet for the Czech Air Force made its first flight at Aero Vodochody Airport. Czech Air Force which currently operates 5 L-159T1s with the 213th Training Squadron, ordered three L-159T2 twin seat aircraft with several upgrades on board in 2016 to fulfil operational missions and advanced jet training. The L-159T2s are supposed to be delivered to the 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav till the end of this year. And on the 6th August the United States Air Force shared a draft request for proposal for the Light Attack Aircraft. Aero Vodochody intends to offer the F/A-259 Striker within the Light Attack Experiment program.

The successful first flight of the L-159T2 (tail number 6028) piloted by Aero’s test pilots Vladimír Kvarda and David Jahoda, lasted 30 minutes. „Aero achieved another important milestone. Thanks to this cooperation with our national customer, the L-159 program got additional features. Based on requirements of the Czech Air Force, we will deliver additional twin seaters that are suitable for not only advanced pilot training but are also equipped for military operations,” President & CEO of Aero Vodochody Giuseppe Giordo said.

See also: The L-159 Light Attack Jet to serve with the USAF?

These new T2 twin seat aircraft have newly built central and forward fuselage, several significant improvements, mostly in equipment of both cockpits and in the fuel system, and are fully Night Vision Goggles (NVG) compatible. Moreover each cockpit is also equipped with two Multi Function Displays (MFD) and with an upgraded version of the ejection seat VS-20. The aircraft is also adapted to offer a pressure refueling 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), which allows the aircraft to be deployed not only in its role of trainer jet, but also as a two seat light attack, combat jet.

The L-159s are operated by the Czech Air Force, the Iraqi Air Force and the U.S. company Draken International. In the past, 1 L-159B was leased by the Hungarian Air Force to train pilots (2008–2010).

See also: Aero Vodochody is selling military aircraft again

At Farnborough Air Show 2018, Aero Vodochody and its strategic partner, Israeli IAI, introduced a multirole aircraft for close air support (CAS), the F/A-259 Striker. The F/A-259 Striker combines the robustness and effectiveness of its successful predecessor - the L-159 ALCA - with the latest advances in avionics and aircraft systems technology. Using benefits of a wet wing, F/A-259 Striker provides superior performance, great maneuverability, and a high range.

See also: Aero and IAI present: F/A-259 Striker light attack jet

On the 6th August the United States Air Force (USAF) shared a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the Light Attack Aircraft with Sierra Nevada/Embraer (A-29 Super Tucano) and Textron Aviation (AT-6B Wolverine) following the conclusion of the second phase of the Light Attack Experiment (LAE; previously known as OA-X). The final RFP release is expected in December 2018. In addition to Sierra Nevada/Embraer and Textron Aviation, Aero Vodochody also intends bid for the light attack procurement: with its F/A-259 Striker.

The program is meant to provide the USAF with efficient airpower together especially with the ability to preserve its more advanced aircraft for conflicts involving major powers. The aim of the program is to find a relatively cheap plane with low operation costs to be deployed in regions where the enemy does operate advanced AA technologies, and a plane which can also offer good solutions for training of new pilots.

Source: aero.cz, af.mil

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