Aero L-159 Alca
|Czech Air Force L-159 ALCA|
|Role||Military Advanced Light Combat Aircraft|
|First flight||4 August 1997|
|Primary user||Czech Air Force|
US$13 million (2003), US$15–17 million
|Developed from||Aero L-59 Super Albatros|
Design and development
The maiden flight of the L-159 occurred on 4 August 1997 with a two-seat version. On 18 August 1998 the single-seat version first flew; it was completed to Czech customer specifications. April 2000 marked the first delivery of an L-159 to the Czech Air Force.
In 2009, Aero Vodochody selected V-Dot Systems (split off from Boeing) as the L-159 avionics integrator. V-Dot will replace the Honeywell multi-function displays (MFD) and upgrade the mission processors to support new functions.
The Czech Air Force is the primary operator, receiving the latest avionics upgrades.
The L-159A is a single-seat 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 multi-mode Doppler Grifo-L radar (a variant of the Grifo-F x-band multi-mode, pulse-doppler radar), for all-weather, day and night operations. It can carry a wide range of NATO standard stores including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs. The L-159A is in operational service with the Czech Air Force and in production. Avionic upgrades are designed and developed by V-Dot Systems Inc.
There are two different configurations being used by the CzAF:
1. Using the Honeywell MFDs.
2. Using the Vdot MFDs.
The L-159B is a two-seat derivative of the L159A primarily designed for Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training. The L-159B 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.
Note: only one prototype made by Aero Vodochody.
The L-159T1 is a two-seat trainer derivative used by the Czech air Force. All L-159T1s are modified L-159A airframes taken from storage. First flight 8 March 2007.
The L-159T2 is a two-seat trainer derivative based on the designs of the L-159T1 and L-159A. Instead of mirroring the instruments to the rear seat like the L-159T1, the new two-seater will have independent instruments. The avionic systems will be interchangeable with the L-159A and use the same software configurations. Aero Vodochody will be using parts from the L-159B to build the L-159T2 prototype. Avionic upgrades are designed and developed by V-Dot Systems Inc.
- Czech Air Force – in service 19 L-159As and 6 L-159T1s (remaining are in cold storage in Aero Vodochody)
- Iraqi Air Force - 10 (13) L-159As and 2 L-159T1s (8 L-159As from Aero Vodochody storage plus 3 for spare parts, 2 L-159As and 2 L-159T1s from Czech Air Force) ordered, with deliveries to be September 2014, however as of November the new Iraqi government is looking to renegotiate the deal. 
- Lewis Fighter Fleet LLC - 3 L-159As (These aircraft were bought from EADS-CASA in July 2013. In 2009 EADS-CASA of Spain exchanged with the CzAF one CASA C-295 for three L-159As and two L-159T1s. Later L-159T1s were returned to the Czech Republic as compensation for the problem with the counter measure not meeting the CzAF requirements.)
- Draken International Inc. - 28 L-159: a civilian U.S. company that cooperates with the U.S. Army, will buy 28 L-159 planes (24 intact and 4 broken down for spares) in a deal worth up to $25.8 million.
Accidents and incidents
On 24 February 2003 L-159A (No. 6056) crashed during weapons trials of the podded 20mm cannon "Plamen", pilot killed.
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004
- Crew: one (L-159A), two (L-159B, L-159T1)
- Length: 12.72 m (41 ft 8¾ in)
- Wingspan: 9.54 m (31 ft 3½ in)
- Height: 4.87 m (16 ft)
- Wing area: 18.80 m² (202.4 sq ft)
- Airfoil: NACA 64A-012
- Aspect ratio: 4.8:1
- Empty weight: 4,350 kg (9,590 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 8,000 kg (17,637 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Honeywell F124-GA-100 turbofan, 28.2 kN (6,330 lbf)
- Never exceed speed: 960 km/h (518 knots, 596 mph)
- Maximum speed: 936 km/h (505 knots, 581 mph) at sea level, clean
- Stall speed: 185 km/h (100 knots, 115 mph)
- Range: 1,570 km (848 nmi, 975 mi) max internal fuel
- Combat radius: 565 km (305 nmi, 351 mi) lo-lo-lo, gun pod, 2× Mark 82 bombs, 2× AIM-9 Sidewinder and 2× 500 L drop tanks
- Service ceiling: 13,200 m (43,300 ft)
- Rate of climb: 62 m/s (12,220 ft/min)
- Guns: provision for ZVI Plamen PL-20 2×20 mm gun pod
- Hardpoints: 7, 3 under each wing and 1 under the fuselage holding up to 2,340 kg (5,159 lb)
- Missiles: **Air-to-air: AIM-9M Sidewinder, IRIS-T, AIM-132 ASRAAM
- Air-to-surface: AGM-65 Maverick
- Bombs: various laser-guided and unguided bombs GBU, CBU
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Frawley, Gerald (2002). The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002/2003. Fyshwick, ACT: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-55-2.
- "GRIFO - A family of pulse Doppler radar" (PDF). Galileo Avionica. Archived from the original on 2004-11-02.
- "Aero L-159". Forum.valka.cz. Archived from the original on 2008-12-07.
- "Iraq Iraq to Buy Czech Fighter Jets". 10 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
- Vrublová, Tereza. "Aero se dohodlo s ministerstvem obrany na podmínkách dodávky L-159 do Iráku". Aero Vodochody. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "First Czech L-159 aircraft may go to Iraq within weeks - minister". České noviny. ČTK. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "3 Aero L-159 ALCA prodány do USA" [3 Aero L-159 ALCA sold in the USA] (in Czech). Forum.valka.cz. 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- "La República checa adquiere cuatro aviones C-295M a EADS-CASA por 130 millones de euros y cinco cazas L-159" [The Czech Republic acquires four C-295 aircraft to EADS-CASA 130 million five fighters L-159]. Noticias Infodefensa España [Defence News Spain] (in Spanish). Infodefensa.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- "Do ČR se vrátil L-159 jako kompenzace za letouny CASA" [In the Czech Republic returned L-159 as compensation for aircraft CASA]. ČT24—Česká televize [CT24 - Czech TV] (in Czech). Ceskatelevize.cz. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- "Czech L-159s: Cheap to Good Home". Defense Industry Daily. 5 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- "Czechs to deliver military planes to U.S.". The Daily Star - Lebanon (Lebanon). 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- "Aero Vodochody Relaunching L-39". Aviation Week & Space Technology (New York: Penton Media) 176 (27): 10. August 4, 2014. ISSN 0005-2175.
- "Pomníky letců - Pomníky letců - Česká republika - České letectvo - 24.2.2003 - kpt.Petr Vašíček" [Memorials Flyers - Flyers Memorials - Czech Republic - Czech Air Force - 24 February 2003 - kpt.Petr Vasicek] (in Czech). Pomnikyletcu.cz. 2003-02-24. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- "Pilot killed in military plane crash". Prague Daily Monitor. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- Lazarová, Daniela (23 November 2012). "Plane crash sees fleet of L-159 fighter jets grounded". Radio Prague. Retrieved 2014-04-23.
- Jackson 2003, pp. 100–101.
- Including tip tanks.
- Jackson, Paul. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004. Coulsdon, UK:Jane's Information Group, 2003. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aero L-159.|
- A-159 page on AERO Vodochody's site
- Aero L-159 ALCA page on milavia.net
- Aero L-159 ALCA specs & photo at Flugzeuginfo.net
- L-159 photos at Photo-Planes.com
- L-159 avionic upgrades by Vdot Systems