Aero Vodochody L-159 ALCA

First flying in 1997, the L-159A Advanced Light Combat Aircraft (ALCA) is a single-engine subsonic combat aircraft which was developed from the L-59 Super Albatross trainer. Locally developed in the Czech Republic by Aero Vodochody as a domestic low cost fighter to replace a number of Soviet-era types in Air Force service, namely the MiG-23BN, Su-22 and Su-25. A two-seat trainer version designated as the L-159B was also developed, this was later developed into the L-159T1 for Iraq. The L-159 has not been an export success and has only been ordered by the Czech Republic and Iraq. A number of L-159s which were retired by or in storage with the Czech Air Force have been sold to private military contractors to provide aggressor air services as the L-159E. This includes to Draken International who use a fleet of L-159Es based at Teesside airport to provide aggressor air services to the RAF. Draken calls the L-159E the Honey Badger.

The Czech Air Force initially ordered 72 aircraft but made a decision to only operate a fleet of 24 aircraft, placing the rest into storage or selling them to private operators. All L-159A’s currently in service have recently been upgraded to PP16 specification allowing the pilots to use Night Vision Goggles. In addition to a small fleet of L-159T1 and L-159T1+ two seat trainers (the latter having the same combat capability as the L-159A), the Czech Air Force currently fly a fleet of 16 L-159A ALCAs.

The Czech Air Force will once again be sending a single L-159 ALCA for static display at this year’s Air Tattoo as part of our NATO 75th celebration. The aircraft will be provided by 212 Tacticka Letka (212th Tactical Squadron) which is based at Caslav Air Base.

Photo Credit: Duncan Chase

On display

Role Friday Saturday Sunday
Static Not decided Yes Yes