The March 31 rollout of the first production L-159 built for 13 years also provided more details of the upgraded L-159T1+ which the Czech Air Force (Vzdušné síly Armády České republiky, VzS AČR) is set to acquire. With the original L-159T1s lacking Grifo radar, radar warning receivers or chaff/flare launchers, it meant much related work was taught in the training room. However, the L-159T1+ will boast an upgraded mission system, avionics and Grifo radar – as a dual-seater it will offer the same capability as the single-seat L-159A.
Prototype L-159T1+ serial 6067 was seen on display at the Aero Vodochody works, and the company provided details of the work it has carried out to enhance the new trainer. Manufactured on September 29, 2003, it was one of the last to roll off the Aero Vodochody production line. It had flown 251 hours as a single-seater before being converted to a dual-seat L-159T1 on October 12, 2007, and another 505 hours in that configuration before it was upgraded to L-159T1+.
It is now undergoing a flight-test phase before delivery to the Czech Air Force, which will bring all sorts of opportunities. These will include the chance to train both Czech and foreign pilots, from the screening stage all the way to tactical combat, at the international training centre being set up at Pardubice.
The five L-159As converted to L-159T1s for use by the Czech Air Force were 6046, 6047, 6067, 6069 (now with the Iraqi Air Force) and 6078. Meanwhile, 6073, the company’s L-159T2EX demonstrator, flew a display on March 31. Another two L-159T1s, 6071 and 6072, were delivered to EADS at Seville in 2010 as part of a deal that saw four C295s join the Czech Air Force. Alan Warnes