AERO Vodochody Aerospace a.s. and Czech Ministry of Defence announced during the International Defence and Security Technologies Fair in Brno, Czech Republic contract for maintenance of 16 L-159 aircraft in four years. The total value of the so called PP16 contract - maintenance after 16 years of service – is CZK 1.6 billion.
The PP16 is a second regular maintenance check of single seat L-159s, the first check after eight years of service was performed by Aero in 2009–2013. The PP16 contract includes the renewal of the operating period for the next eight years. The maintenance work consists of inspection of all parts of the aircraft including all the equipment.
Besides the necessary maintenance, several upgrades are part of the contract. One of them is adjustment for use of NVG (night vision goggles): adaptation of the cockpit and installation of internal and external airplane lighting (positional, anti-collision and formation lights). Aero cooperates with the Czech army to make the whole L-159 fleet NVG compatible. All L-159T2 aircraft, which will come to the service of the Czech Air Force in following days, are prepared for training in night vision; adaptation for NVG is also part of upgrade of L-159T1 to T1+.
Another upgrade is installation of ESIS - Electronic Standby Instrument System, able to substitute several standby instruments and provide the pilot with attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and heading data in the event of a panel failure. Aero installed ESIS already to L-159T1 aircraft operated by the Czech Army.
“Aero is a long-term partner to the Czech Army. Together, we are working to ensure that the L-159 serving in the Czech Air Force meets the requirements for modern aircraft to perform military operations and advanced pilot training, and to allow the Czech military to meet its international obligations. Thanks to close cooperation with our most important customer, we can further improve and extend the capabilities of the L-159 aircraft,” said President of Aero Vodochody Dieter John.
Filip Říha,Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions, added: "The L-159 contract for the maintenance and modernization confirms that domestic companies play important role in building and maintaining our military capabilities."
Czech Air Force is currently operating 16 single seat L-159 aircraft and 5 two seat L-159T1 trainers. In following days, Aero will also deliver to the Czech Army three L-159T2. The new T2 two 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 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 refueling capability. The Grifo radar, commonly used in single seat version, is now integrated also into the two seat L-159T2 as well as the self-protection systems (countermeasures and radar warning receiver).
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. In the field of civil aviation, Aero partners with many of the world's largest manufacturers in a diverse range of projects.