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Iraq about to take delivery of first new-built Aero L-159 fighter jet

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World Defense & Security News - Iraq
 
 
Iraq about to take delivery of first new-built Aero L-159 fighter jet
 
Thirteen years after delivery of the last aircraft to the Czech Air Force, Aero Vodochody manufactures new L-159 ALCA aircraft. The two-seater will be delivered to Iraq at the turn of the year, the Czech aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday Dec. 13, 2016.
     
Iraq about to take delivery of first new built Aero L 159 fighter jet 640 001One of the L-159s already in service with the Iraqi Air Force
(Credit: Aero Vodochody)
     
Restart of the production required restoring of L-159 assembly line, which Aero kept prepared in case of need since the delivery of the last aircraft in 2003. Aero successfully installed a Honeywell engine to the airframe of the new aircraft and the production of the whole aircraft should be completed within a few weeks.

In March 2015, The Iraqi government agreed to purchase 10 single-seater L-159A models, 2 two-seater L-159 trainers, and three airframes intended for spare parts worth $30.1million . All deliveries will be completed by 2017. The first two Czech L-159s were delivered to Iraq on 5 November 2015. These L-159 aircraft operated by Squadron No 115 were deployed in the battle against the ISIS.

Sales of L-159 to Iraqi Ministry of Defence and to Draken International company raised interest in these aircraft around the world. Aero is currently negotiating with several potential customers and the company is ready for possible renewal of serial production of the aircraft. Therefore, Aero and Honeywell are negotiating about the future cooperation. In the future, Honeywell should deliver new innovative engines for L-159 aircraft.

"We believe that the L-159 project has a great potential. According to our analyses, the demand for light combat aircraft will increase in the next years and L-159 is very competitive in its category. Therefore, we are negotiating with suppliers of key aggregates to be prepared for possible launch of mass production," says Giuseppe Giordo, president and CEO of Aero Vodochody.

Relaunch of the L-159 program is in line with the new strategy of the company, which now wants to refocus more on the production of military aircraft. In addition to the light combat L-159, Aero offers L-39NG jet trainer, new generation of legendary Albatros.