The Czech Republic may provide Ukraine with some of its L-159 light combat aircraft to support a planned counteroffensive, Czech President Petr Pavel said in a radio interview. This is reported by Reuters.
“It is worth considering whether we could provide Ukraine with our L-159 aircraft,” said Petr Pavel. “As direct combat support aircraft, (the planes) could also help Ukraine significantly in the counteroffensive”.
The decision on military supplies will be made by the Czech government, but it should be remembered that since the beginning of the full-scale war, the Czech Republic has been among Ukraine’s staunchest allies. The Czech Republic provided Ukraine with 152-mm projectiles, tanks T-72M, IFV-1, 152-mm DANA self-propelled gun and RM-70 multiple rocket launcher, a squadron of Mi-24 attack helicopters. Recently, it became known that Ukraine will receive two Kub air defense systems and missiles for them from the Czech Republic.
Aero L-159 ALCA is a multipurpose light combat aircraft produced by Aero Vodochody, which is a descendant of the Aero L-39 Albatros training aircraft, well known to Ukrainian pilots. This is a vehicle in the same class as KAI FA-50 recently purchased by Poland and TAI Hürjet, which is being tested in Turkey. Light combat aircraft are used as direct combat support aircraft, light attack aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, etc.
The Aero L-159 ALCA is a development of the Aero L-59 Super Albatros (1986–1996), which in turn is based on the Aero L-39 Albatros (1971–1996). The L-159 was produced in 1997-2003 and 2016-2017, a total of 72 aircraft were produced. The main operators are the Czech Republic (16 L-159A and 8 upgraded L-159T1 and L-159T2), Iraq, and the USA.
It is interesting that in the USA 21 L-159 aircraft belong to Draken International, which offers pilot training services for the US Air Force. The founder of Draken International is the same Jared Isaacman who flew into space as part of the Inspiration4 mission and funds three more Polaris Program space missions.
The Aero L-159 ALCA can carry up to 2,340 kg of missile and bomb payloads, including AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AGM-65 Maverick, and GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-16 Paveway II laser-guided bombs.
So we are waiting for the decision of the Czech government. The Aero L-159 ALCA will not solve the issue of modern fighters, but it can significantly strengthen the Ukrainian Air Force with aircraft compatible with Western weapons.
Aero L-159 ALCA specifications
Crew – 1 (L-159A) or 2 (L-159B, L-159T1/T2) people
Length – 12.72 m
Wingspan – 9.54 m
Height – 4.87 m
Wing area – 18.8 m2
Empty weight – 4350 kg
Max takeoff weight – 8000 kg
Powerplant – 11 × Honeywell/ITEC F124-GA-100 turbofan engine, 28.2 kN (6,300 lbf) thrust
Maximum speed – 936 km/h
Range – 1,570 kma
Combat range – 565 km
Service ceiling – 13,200 m
Rate of climb – 62 m/s
Armament – up to 3 × ZVI PL-20 Plamen containers with 2 × 20 mm guns
Hardpoints – 7
Payload – up to 2,340 kg
Missiles: LAU-5002 rocket pods (6 × 70-mm CRV7 rockets), LAU-5003 rocket pods (19 × 70-mm CRV7 rockets); AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles; CBU-87, Mark 82, Mark 83, GBU-12 Paveway II, GBU-16 Paveway II bombs