Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody has completed the maiden flight of its L-159 T2X prototype, a trainer jet intended for 5th generation combat pilot training.
The company has been working on upgrading the L-159 for the last four years, which is currently used by the Czech and Iraqi armies. The first flight of the T2X from the airport in Vodochody was to test avionic systems and key design elements, said the company.
There are 86 L-159s in various configurations, including conversions in service. Draken Europe, a contractor that provides fighter aircraft under contract to armed forces, has also recently started using L-159 for training purposes following a deal announced at the Farnborough Airshow earlier this year. The aircraft is known as the Honey Badger among its users for its endurance, durability and combat capabilities.
Milos Trnobransky, chief designer of the L-39, L-59 and L-159 aircraft at Aero said, “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.”
Aero pitches the aircraft as a platform for advanced and combat pilot training for fourth and emerging 5th generation fighter aircraft with a capability to operate cost-effectively against drones, with powerful on-board radar.