Draken International announced on 16 July 2014 it has finalised the expected deal with Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody and the Czech Republic Ministry of Defense to purchase and regeneration of up to 28 Aero L-159E ALCA fighter aircraft.
These aircraft, which include some unique modifications, will give the American based company advanced training aircraft with 4th generation sensor capabilities.
Draken International CEO Jared Isaacman states, “This acquisition has been negotiated over the last 18 months and reflects the very finest in cooperation between the American and Czech Republic defense industries. These aircraft, in addition to Draken’s vast existing fleet, will be at the forefront of the advanced commercial air services industry in the United States and for our allies abroad.”
The deal between the Czech Republic and Draken already looked very good in December 2013. It also brings hope to Aero Vodochody, while it inspires the Czech company to develop a new advanced trainer and light attack aircraft: the L-169.
Draken International is a provider of commercial air services based out of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida. The organization provides the US military and some of its allies with airborne adversary support, flight training, threat simulation, electronic warfare support, aerial refueling, research, testing, as well as other missions uniquely suited to their fleet of aircraft.
With a fleet of over 50 tactical fighter aircraft, the company owns and operates the largest privately-owned fleet of ex-military aircraft in the world. Draken employs military trained fighter pilots including USAF Weapons School Instructors, Fighter Weapons School Graduates, Top Gun Instructors, Air Liaison Officers, Thunderbird Demonstration pilots and FAC-A Instructors.
The Draken L-159E deal was already pre-approved by the Czech government in January this year, and initially 14 aircraft will be moved from storage to the US. The current deal includes the framework for the first Aero Vodochody approved maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operation at Draken International’s Lakeland facility. Draken will also exclusively market the L-159 and future derivatives to customers in North and South American as well as undertake a portion of the aircraft manufacturing process in the United States. Additional services such as flight testing, training, avionics and tactical system integration will also be undertaken by Draken International. This historic partnership represents the first time Aero Vodochody and its aircraft will be marketed, assembled and completely supported outside of the Czech Republic.
Source: Draken International with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger