Aero will overhaul 16 L-159 for the Czech army

Aero will overhaul 16 L-159 for the Czech army

AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. and Czech Ministry of Defence announced during the International Defence and Security Technologies Fair in Brno, Czech Republic contract for maintenance of 16 L-159 aircraft in four years. The total value of the so called PP16 contract - maintenance after 16 years of service – is CZK 1.6 billion.

The PP16 is a second regular maintenance check of single seat L-159s, the first check after eight years of service was performed by Aero in 2009–2013. The PP16 contract includes the renewal of the operating period for the next eight years. The maintenance work consist of inspection of all parts of the aircraft including all the equipment.

Besides the necessary maintenance, several upgrades are part of the contract. One of them is adjustment for use of NVG (night vision goggles): adaptation of the cockpit and installation of internal and external airplane lighting (positional, anti-collision and formation lights). Aero cooperates with the Czech army to make the whole L-159 fleet NVG compatible. All L-159T2 aircraft, which will come to the service of the Czech Air Force in following days, are prepared for training in night vision; adaptation for NVG is also part of upgrade of L-159T1 to T1+.

Another upgrade is installation of ESIS - Electronic Standby Instrument System, able to substitute several standby instruments and provide the pilot with attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and heading data in the event of a panel failure. Aero installed ESIS already to L-159T1 aircraft operated by the Czech Army.

„Aero is a long-term partner to the Czech Army. Together, we are working to ensure that the L-159 serving in the Czech Air Force meets the requirements for modern aircraft to perform military operations and advanced pilot training, and to allow the Czech military to meet its international obligations. Thanks to close cooperation with our most important customer, we can further improve and extend the capabilities of the L-159 aircraft,“ said President of Aero Vodochody Dieter John.

Filip Říha,Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions, added: "The L-159 contract for the maintenance and modernization confirms that domestic companies play important role in building and maintaining our military capabilities."

L-159 in service of Czech Air Force

Czech Air Force is currently operating 16 single seat L-159 aircraft and 5 two seat L-159T1 trainers. In following days, Aero will also deliver to the Czech Army three L-159T2. The new T2 two seat aircraft have newly built central and forward fuselage, several significant improvements, mostly in equipment of both cockpits and in the fuel system, and are fully NVG compatible. Each cockpit is further equipped with two Multi Function Displays and upgraded version of an ejection seat VS-20. The aircraft is also adapted to offer a pressure refueling capability. The Grifo radar, commonly used in single seat version, is now integrated also into the two seat L-159T2 as well as the self protection systems (countermeasures and radar warning receiver).


L-159 aircraft mates Aero’s long-term experience in development and production of military jet aircraft, in the category of which Aero represents historically the largest producer in the world, with latest advances in avionics, engine and aircraft systems technology. The L-159 is a 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 state-of-the-art multi-mode radar for all-weather, day and night operations and can carry a wide range of NATO standards stores including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs. The two-seat L-159 is a derivate of the single-seat L-159, primarily designed for Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training. The L-159 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.

L-39NG program remains a key priority to AERO

New management team of AERO presented its strategy for future of the company. In the middle of March, Dieter John replaced Giuseppe Giordo as President and CEO of AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE. During past weeks, new CEO consolidated his management team and now he presented his plans for AERO.

AERO’s business strategy as it was set out by the previous management almost three years ago will not change – AERO will focus mainly on military programs, i.e. on development and production and repairs, modernisation and upgrades of AERO produced aircraft. The L-39NG program remains a key priority and so do repairs, overhauls and modernizations of national and international L-159 and L-39 fleets. In parallel AERO will continue developing its third business pillar as a key supplier of aerostructures and partner of renowned aircraft manufacturers.

First key step is to complete certification of L-39NG - brand new aircraft of Aero - in accordance with the certification timeline and to continue with new contracts. Another step is financial consolidation of the company. Starting end 2018 up to now, due to several concurrent events, AERO found itself in a difficult financial situation. Both CEO Dieter John and shareholder of AERO, Penta Investments, have taken very strong actions to improve the financial situation. A holistic turnaround strategy which addresses multiple areas has been designed by the new leadership team. During implementation of the strategy, Aero and its shareholder will continue to invest into the future of the company and prepare it for sustainable growth. In addition, AERO shareholder, as in the past, confirmed their continual financial and non-financial support to AERO.

One voice message from AERO shareholder and from CEO Dieter John to all partners of the company says:

“L-39NG project continues to be our priority and it progresses according to the plan and so that we can meet our contractual commitments. Besides that, we will continue focusing on the capture and delivery of our services and MRO business and our key aerostructure projects. The turnaround program implemented will leverage our unparalleled programmatic, technical and performance capabilities and ensure AERO´s growth and competitiveness. AERO is here for 100 years and we plan to begin another hundred with further sales of L-39NG at the top.”


AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. focuses on the design and manufacturing of military and civil aircraft and is the largest aviation manufacturer in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest aerospace companies worldwide. In the field of military aircraft, Aero has been a reliable long-term partner to many of the world's air forces and it has a strong position on the market of military training and light combat aircraft. With a huge existing fleet of L-39 and with a brand new aircraft, L-39NG, Aero is positioning itself as a leader in the jet training market. In the field of civil aviation, Aero partners with many of the world's largest manufacturers in a diverse range of projects. More recently, Aero became a full partner in several risk-sharing programs, taking responsibility not only for the production of structures but also for development.

Source: AERO News - Tobiáš Tvrdík, AERO PR manager - 30 May 2019

Photo: Czech Air Force AERO Vodochody L-159A ALCA Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training aircraft  (Photo by www.aero.cz)

Natalia Kolanowski (CZECH / POLAND / UKRAINE XairForces Editor)



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