It seems like the Iraqi deal to buy surplus Czech Air Force L-159 ALCAs has been recovered from the stall it was in. According to the Czech business paper Hospodářské Noviny on 8 April 2014 the two countries are renegotiating the delivery of a dozen of the advanced trainers and light attack aircraft. The deal initially broke down in 2013.
By opting for only 12 aircraft the main argument of the earlier stalling has been taken away, since L-159 manufacturer Aero Vodochody reportedly wasn’t able to deliver the 24 aircraft Iraq originally wanted. That demand was met when Baghdad ordered 24 South Korean made T-50/FA-50 aircraft instead.
But Iraq is looking at ways to strengthen its air force further and the L-159s could be a economically great deal for still fairly current technology. According to earlier reports by Czech sources there are officially 36 ex-Czech Air Force L-159 in long-time storage, of which Aero is set to deliver 28 to the American military sub-contractor Draken International . The potential Draken deal was approved by the Czech government just after New Year. Draken earlier bought – amongst others – ex-Polish Air Force MiG-21s.
To make a total of 12 aircraft for the Iraqi Air Force the Czech Air Force should decommission another four of its originally 72 ALCA’s. The Vzdušné síly Armády České republiky still flies 24 of the indigenous light fighter/advanced trainer with the 212.tl at Čáslav Airbase, which AIRheads↑Fly paid an exclusive visit to earlier this year.
Before publication of this latest L-159 development we were unable to get confirmation whether manufacturer Aero Vodochody itself has four other airframes available for the potential new deal. A third option is an adaption of the Draken contract. Of the 28 aircraft the American company wishes to buy, four were destined to be sacrificed for spare parts only. Those four could be rerouted to the Iraqi deal if Aero and Draken come to an understanding or an alternative way to keep the planes serviceable and airborne.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger