The Czech Republic and Ukraine plan to jointly manufacture a light fighter

L-159 ALCA: this is the first fighter made by a NATO country that Ukraine could receive

After the delivery of MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine by Slovakia and Poland, more modern aircraft could arrive soon.

The images of the first four MiG-29 fighters delivered to Ukraine by Slovakia
Confirmed: Ukrainian Air Force will receive 25 MiG-29s from Poland and Slovakia

This Wednesday, the President of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel, has announced that the Czech Air Force could deliver some of its L-159 ALCA to Ukraine, a fighter subsonic light manufactured by the Czech Republic, in order to support the upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive against the Russian invaders. It would be the first combat aircraft manufactured by a NATO country that Ukraine would receive.

An Aero L-39 of the Ukrainian Air Force (Source: Командування Повітряних Сил ЗСУ).

The manufacturer of the L-159 is the Czech company Aero Vodochody, creator of the first jet aircraft built in the former Czechoslovakia, the L-29 Delfín training aircraft (which made its first flight in 1959), and that she is also the author of a very successful aircraft, the L-39 Albatros (1971) , a training and light attack aircraft of which 2,900 units were manufactured and sold to dozens of countries. Ukraine is one of its operators. The L-39 had a successor in the 1980s, the L-59 Super Albatros (1986), which was less commercially successful (only used by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Egypt and Tunisia).

Two L-159A ALCA of the 212th Tactical Squadron of the Czech Air Force (Source: TVArmycz).

The L-159 ALCA made its first flight on August 2, 1997. It measures 12.72 meters long and has a 9.54-meter wingspan. It is equipped with a turbofan engine that provides a thrust of 28.2 kN. It can reach a maximum speed of 936 km/h, with a range of 1,570 km and a service ceiling of 13,200 meters. It has seven weapon racks in which it can carry three 20mm cannon pods, AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles, LAU-5002 and LAU-5003 rocket launchers, GBU-12 and GBU-16 laser-guided bombs, and Mk-82 and Mk-83 conventional bombs.

Two L-159A ALCA of the 212th Tactical Squadron of the Czech Air Force, with low-visibility insignia (Photo: Aero Vodochody).

The FTAA military operators are the Czech Air Force and the Iraqi Air Force, and it also has three civilian operators: Draken Europe (from the United Kingdom) and the American companies Draken International and Lewis Fighter Fleet. The Czech Republic has two squadrons of these aircraft, with 24 units in total: the 212th Tactical Squadron, with 14 L-159A fighter and attack single-seaters and two L-159T1 two-seater trainers, and the 213th Training Squadron, with two L-159A single-seaters, three L-159T1 two-seaters and three L-159T2 two-seaters. We can see here a video from the Czech Armed Forces showing two L-159As of the 212th Tactical Squadron:

Obviously, the L-159 ALCA is not an aircraft on the level of the F-16 that Ukraine is asking for, since it lacks its supersonic speed and its weapons load capacity is inferior, but it could be very helpful to Ukraine, especially in ground support missions.

An artist rendering of the future F/A-259, which the Czech Republic and Ukraine plan to jointly manufacture (Source: Aero Vodochody).

Furthermore, on April 28 it was announced that the Czech Republic plans to build a new light fighter, the Aero F/A-259 in collaboration with Ukraine. It is a development of the L-159, which could be operated from unprepared runways, giving Ukraine the ability to deploy a combat aircraft without relying on its air bases.

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