Czech aircraft company AERO Vodochody has conducted the first flight test of its L-159 T2X combat trainer aircraft prototype.

The demonstration was conducted recently at Vodochody’s airport in the Czech Republic.

The latest milestone comes after four years of intensive work performed by the company to modernise and upgrade the L-159 aircraft to fulfil the emerging needs of fifth-generation fighter pilot training programmes.

The company is using this L-159 T2X prototype to test and validate all new features and systems, including new design elements and avionics systems, of the aircraft before the final integration.

Aero Vodochody L-39, L-59 and L-159 aircraft chief designer Milos Trnobransky said: “We have developed a new wing and an integral tank that increases range, especially for two-seat configurations.

“It will also allow us to increase the number of usable wing pylons. We also plan to integrate completely redesigned avionics and precision weapons technology against ground targets.

“With the upgrade, we want to ensure long-term and efficient use of aircraft for our customers.”

The cost-effective L-159 aircraft is used for providing advanced and combat training to the pilots of fourth-generation and fifth-generation combat aircraft.

The company has so far produced as many as 86 L-159 jets in different configurations/conversions.

Aero’s L-159 aircraft is currently in service with the Czech and Iraqi military forces. It is also being used by Draken Europe for several training purposes.

Earlier this year, Draken signed a cooperation agreement with Aero to use the L-159 as an aggressor aircraft to train the UK Royal Air Force ’s pilots flying combat aircraft such as F-35 fighter aircraft.

In 2017, Draken deployed 11 L-159 to Nellis Air Force Base under the US Air Force’s adversary air contract.