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, Iraqi Air Force|
US$9.5 million (2015) 
US$13 million (2003)
|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 - 15 L-159 aircraft purchased (10+3 L-159As and 2 L-159T1s). The first two Czech L-159s were delivered to Iraq on 5 November 2015.
- Draken International Inc. - 21 L-159Es: a civilian U.S. company that cooperates with the US military for the training of American pilots, will buy 21 planes in total. Aero Vodochody handed over the first L-159 aircraft to Draken International on 30 September 2015.
- 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 four CASA C-295 for three L-159As, two L-159T1s and 130 million Euros. Later the two L-159T1s were returned by EADS-CASA to the Czech Republic as compensation for the C-295M not meeting the counter measures requirements of the CzAF at the time of delivery. This problem has been solved by EADS-CASA three years later and the remaining three L-159As resold by EADS-CASA to Lewis Fighter Fleet LLC.
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)
- Bombs: various laser-guided and unguided bombs GBU, CBU
- Related development
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- Frawley, Gerald (2002). The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002/2003. Fyshwick, ACT: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-55-2.
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- Jennings, Gareth. "Iraq receives first L-159 jets from the Czech Republic". IHS Jane's 360. IHS. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "USA´s Draken to buy 21 L-159 planes, gets 8 planes by year´s end". ČeskéNoviny.cz. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
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- Vrublová, Tereza. "Aero Hands Over First L-159 Aircraft to Draken". Aero Vodochody. AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- "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.
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- "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.
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