Aero Vodochody acheived the first flight of an L-159T2 twin-seat advanced jet trainer on 1 August. The 30 minute flight was conducted by company test pilots Vladimír Kvarda and David Jahoda.
The Czech Air Force ordered three examples in 2016, which are scheduled for delivery by the end of this year. L-159 aircraft are operated by the Czech and Iraqi air forces, by US company Draken International and have in the past been leased by the Hungarian Air Force for pilot training.
These new T2 twin seat aircraft have a newly-built central and forward fuselage and feature several significant improvements, mostly in cockpit equipment and the fuel system, and are fully NVG compatible. Each cockpit is furnished with two multi-function displays and an upgraded VS-20 ejection seat. The aircraft can also offer a pressure refuelling capability. The GRIFO radar, already in use in the single-seat version, is now integrated into the dual-seat L-159T2, as are the self-protection systems – countermeasures and radar warning receiver.
At the Farnborough Air Show in July, Aero Vodochody and its strategic partner, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), introduced a multirole aircraft for close air support – the F/A-259 STRIKER (story here), which combines the robust and effectiveness of its successful predecessor - the L-159 ALCA - with the latest advances in avionics and aircraft systems technology. Using the benefits of a wet wing, the STRIKER provides superior performance, high manoeuvrability, and a significant range.
“Aero achieved another important milestone. Thanks to this cooperation with our national customer, the L-159 programme 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,” commented Aero Vodochody President & CEO, Giuseppe Giordo.