In parallel with the support and maintenance of the existing L-159 aircraft, Aero has been continuously working on upgrading its capabilities, with the main goal of providing a plane that will meet the demanding requirements of 5th-generation combat pilot training. The last month, after four years of intensive work, the prototype (demonstrator) L-159 T2X took off from the airport in Vodochody. It is an aircraft on which engineers are testing new avionic systems and key design elements.
The L-159 aircraft produced by Aero Vodochody is currently used by the Czech and Iraqi armies. Recently, Draken Europe has started using Czech aircraft for training purposes. Aero continues to upgrade key elements of the aircraft, known as the Honey Badger among its users for its endurance, durability, and combat capabilities. In total, Aero has produced 86 L-159s in various configurations (including conversions) to date.
After four years of development, the prototype, named L-159 T2X, once again roared over the company’s premises. Aero is testing upgraded features on this airplane. “We have developed a new wing and an integral tank that increases the range, especially for two-seat configurations. It will also allow us to increase the number of usable wing pylons. We also plan to integrate completely redesigned avionics and precision weapons technology against ground targets. With the upgrade, we want to ensure long-term and efficient use of the aircraft for our customers,” says Milos Trnobransky, chief designer of the L-39, L-59, and L-159 aircraft at Aero.
Among the advantages of the L-159 compared to its competitors are its low operating costs and ease of maintenance in daily operation. The aircraft is thus an excellent platform for advanced and combat pilot training for fourth and emerging fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The capability to operate efficiently and cost-effectively against drones, thanks to the powerful onboard radar, is proving to be a significant asset today. This is also why it was chosen by Draken Europe, which signed a cooperation agreement with Aero earlier this year in Farnborough. Draken Europe will use the L-159 as an aggressor aircraft in the training of RAF fighter pilots, including the F-35 jet fighter.
Photo credit: © Milan Nykodym, Czech Republic