Aero L-159 T2X prototype makes first flight

Aero L159 T2X first flight
Aero's L-159 T2X prototype jet takes off from Vodochody Airport, Czech Republic.

Czech aircraft manufacturer AERO Vodochody said last week it conducted the maiden flight of the prototype (demonstrator) L-159 T2X at Vodochody Airport, Czech Republic. The company has been working on the modernization of the L-159 jet for four years, testing new avionics systems and key design elements. The main goal is to provide an aircraft that meets the demanding requirements of 5th generation combat pilot training.

The L-159 aircraft produced by Aero Vodochody is currently used by the Czech and Iraqi armies. Recently, Draken Europe has started using the Czech aircraft for training purposes. Aero continues to upgrade key elements of the aircraft, which is 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.

"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.

Aero L159 T2X first flight

According to Aero, the L-159 offers various advantages over its competitors such as low operating costs and ease of maintenance during daily operation. It is marketed as an excellent platform for advanced and combat pilot training for fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft.

"The capability to operate efficiently and cost-effectively against drones, thanks to the powerful on-board 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," the company says.

Aero L159 T2X first flight

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: AERO Vodochody

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