Thirteen years after the last serially produced L-159 was delivered, Aero Vodochody is ready to restart production of its advanced light attack aircraft. Last year Aero produced and delivered to an international customer a two-seat L-159 aircraft, which was the highlight of today’s celebration in Aero.
The company is turning its focus back on proprietary aircraft and L-159 could become a flagship of this new approach.
In the next ten years, there will be demand for hundreds of light attack aircraft on the market, believes Aero Vodochody. And the leading Czech aircraft manufacturer wants to take its share. “We know there is a relevant market and we know we have the right product. L-159 is the only aircraft in its category, that is currently on the market and it is proven in various types of missions. So now it is the right time to start offering L-159 again and giving a new future to this aircraft,” described Giuseppe Giordo, CEO of Aero Vodochody.
During the last decade, Aero Vodochody has primarily competed in the international market in upgrading, maintaining, repairing, overhauling of existing aircraft and has collaborated with national customer on several significant projects. Those national collaborations allowed Aero to maintain key capabilities up to nowadays, which was demonstrated in the production of the L-159 aircraft delivered to a customer at the end of 2016.
This achievement in conjunction with the installation of a brand new wing production facility represents a significant milestone for the Czech aerospace industry, because it is a proof of the retained know-how and availability of production capacity to manufacture a unique high-tech product as light fighter.
L-159 aircraft has been operated by four customers – Czech Army, Hungary Army, Iraqi Army and US company Draken International. Czech Army has the largest fleet and the aircraft in its service are serving in various missions around Europe and they are also actively participating on NATO exercises. In 2008-2010, Hungary Air Force leased L-159 for pilot training, it was the first deployment of the aircraft by international customer.
In 2014, Aero and Czech Ministry of Defence managed to sell some aircraft used by the Czech Army to two new customers, Iraq and Draken International. Now, the producer would also aiming to restart production and support of sales of brand new aircraft.
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.
Aero Vodochody Aerospace a.s. focuses on the design and manufacturing of military and civil aircraft and is the largest aviation manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aerospace companies worldwide. With a huge existing fleet of L-39 and with a brand-new aircraft, L-39NG, Aero is positioning itself as a leader in the jet training market. More recently, Aero became a full partner in several risk-sharing programs, taking responsibility not only for the production of structures but also for development.