Farnborough 2018: Engines running on new Czech jet trainers
Work on the three brand new Aero L159T2 advanced jet trainers for the Czech Air Force is now well underway and the first jet was seen engine running at Aero’s Odolena Voda airport on 4 July.
First flight is expected towards the end of the summer, while production of the other two jets is progressing.
The new trainers, are part of a deal that also includes the upgrade of the Czech Air Force’s five remaining L-159T1s to the T1+ standard.
The modernised jets will house new cockpit avionics, including four Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), upgraded mission system a new Grifo radar which the original T1s do not have, as well as wet-wings. There is also an option at a later date for an air to air refuelling probe, which has been plumbed into the new production aircraft.
The first T2 is expected to be delivered to Caslav the Czech Air Force’s 21st Tactical Air Force Base Zvolenska by the end of 2018.
Base Commander, Col Petr Tománek told Shephard: 'Six of the new T2/T1+s will operate with the 213th Training Squadron which currently operates three L-39ZAs and five L-159Ts, while the other pair will be used by the co-located 212th Tactical Squadron for check rides.'
The latter operates 16 L-159s in the air to ground and a limited air to air role.
Tománek revealed that the three L-39ZAs serving the 213th will be retired in May 2019, which will coincide with the base airshow.
The base commander’s long term goal is to reduce the age of a Gripen pilot from 30 to 28.
'With the more modern L-39NG and L-159T2 we can speed up the training process up. I’m also hoping to install some Gripen instructor pilots in the CLV [Flight Training Center, which trains Czech Air Force pilots] to speed up the combat training,' he said.
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