CZECH AIRCRAFT manufacturer Aero Vodochody promoted the L-159BAT as a training solution for the Hellenic Air Force’s (RAF’s) future lead-in fighter training requirements during the Defendory International 2006 arms exhibition, held at the Piraeus Exhibition Centre in Athens from October 3-7. The L-159BAT is the new designation for the surplus Czech Air Force single-seat L-159A Advanced Light Combat Aircraft which are being converted into two-seat L-159B trainers, the BAT designation being derived from ‘B from A for Training.’
Four such conversions for the Czech Air Force are already under way under a contract signed in June (see Czech L-159B Conversion Contract Signed, August, p14). The project involves mating a newly-manufactured fuselage to the original wing and tail sections. Most equipment from the original L-159A is re-used, including avionics and other systems, although all will be refurbished before installation. Wiring harnesses, push rods and hoses are all new production items.
The L-159 has been offered to the HAF on previous occasions and test-flown by its pilots at Elefsis Air Base. Aero is promoting the L-159BAT to the HAF as a more cost-effective option than buying new production two-seat L-159Bs, which would be significantly more expensive and take longer to manufacture. It is also proposed that Greek companies become involved in developing and producing the L-159BAT, should these be purchased by the HAF. Greece currently employs ageing Rockwell T-2E Buckeyes for advanced jet training with 120 Ptergia Ekpedefseos Aeros at Kalamata, and the HAF is seeking to replace them with a new, modern, effective and advanced training system.