The L-159 is a Czech Republic-made multitasking strike aircraft designed for air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions. The aircraft is currently being actively used by the Iraqi air force against ISIS.
The Iraqi Air Force has ordered 15 Czech-made L-159 attack aircraft. They have now received 10 of these and are actively using them in the fight against ISIS. The remainder will soon be transferred to Iraq. As a result, Bagdad is using aircraft from Russia, the United States and the Czech Republic at the same time.
The L-159 light subsonic attack jet was developed by the Czech Aero Vodochody based on the L-39/59 jet training aircraft. The aircraft has been redesigned for a larger nose to integrate the new radar system, along with a longer design of the fuselage. The unit price of a unit is about 9.5 million USD.
The L-159 Alca is equipped with seven hardpoints, one on the fuselage and six on the wings, which can carry air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-65 Maverick surface-to-air missiles. The CRV-7 series rocket launcher with a maximum carrying capacity of 2.7 tons. This is one of the aircraft operating effectively in the fight against ISIS in Iraq.
Aero Vodochody CEO Giuseppe Giordio said the company is ready to restart the L-159 production line. “We know there is a niche market and we believe that the L-159 is the only aircraft available on the market that has proven that it can perform a variety of combat missions.”
In the role of pilot training, the L-159 Alca is not too outstanding compared to the Russian Yak-130 or the Italian M-346. The claims of Aero Vodochody leaders are a bit too flattering when the fact that the aircraft so far has not proved much. Looking at the sales after decades of launching the market makes this clear.
The reason for Czech optimism about the restart of the Alca production line, in part because they have won a contract to supply L-159T1 aircraft to the Iraqi Air Force.
The L-159 attack aircraft is fitted with a single F124-GA-100 turbofan engine that can reach a maximum speed of 936km/h at low altitude. It can fly at extremely low speeds of 185km/h – convenient for low-altitude and ultra-low-altitude missions, combat radius of 565km.