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Aero L-39 / L-59 / L-139 / L-159 / F/A-259 Striker

The Aero L-39 Albatros is a high-performance jet that was developed in the 1960s to replace the Aero L-29 Delfín as the primary training aircraft.

It was the first trainer aircraft to feature a turbofan engine.

This model was exported to numerous countries for military training purposes.

The L-39 Albatros later became the foundation for the upgraded L-59 Super Albatros and the L-139.

A more advanced version of the aircraft, known as the L-159 ALCA, began production in 1997.

Over 2,800 L-39s have been utilized by more than 30 air forces globally.

The Albatros is recognised as the most commonly used jet trainer worldwide, serving not only in basic and advanced pilot training but also in light-attack combat missions.


L-39X-01 – X-07

Five prototypes plus two static test airframes.


Standard basic trainer for Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and export.

Originally designated L-39, but renamed L-39C when later variants appeared.

Two pylons under wing.

Approximately 2,260 built.


Slovak upgraded C version.


Ukrainian upgraded C version with AI-25TLSh engines.

The conversion is carried out by Odesaviaremservis and the first plane was complete in 2009.

The upgrade of a further 7 L-39C’s was planned.

Only six L-39C were converted into L-39M1 by 2014


Single seat target tug version for Czechoslovakia.

Equipped to tow KT-04 target on 1,700 m (5,600 ft) cable.

Prototype plus eight production aircraft built.


Interim weapon trainer variant for export.

Four pylons stressed for 500 kg (1,100 lb) (inboard) and 250 kg (550 lb) (outboard), with total external load of 1,150 kg (2,500 lb).

First flew 25 June 1975, with initial deliveries to Iraq in 1977.

337 built.


Significantly upgraded L-39ZO for armed training and light attack, employing sturdier landing gear, a higher payload (total 1,290 kg (2,844 lb) and notably provision for a GSh-23L 23-mm twin-barrelled canon attached in a conformal pod under the pilots’ compartment, having a 150-round magazine within the airframe.

Outer pylons wired to carry K-13 or R-60 air-to-air missiles.

Two prototypes, with first flying on 29 September 1976.

208 aircraft delivered.


Slovak upgraded ZA version.


Thai version of L-39ZA with Elbit avionics.

40 built.


The Aero L-39MS is a second-generation military trainer aircraft developed from the firm’s earlier L-39.

Compared to its predecessor, it featured a strengthened fuselage, longer nose, a vastly updated cockpit, and a more powerful (21.6 kN (4,850 lbf)) Lotarev DV-2 engine, allowing operation at higher weights and speeds (max speed 872 km/h (542 mph).

First flight on 30 September 1986.

It was later designated as the Aero L-59.

L-139 Albatros 2000

Revised version with western avionics and 17.99 kN (4,045 lbf) Garrett TFE731-4-1T engine.

Single prototype built.


Further modernized advanced trainer/combat aircraft with more modern, Western avionics and Honeywell/ITEC F124 engine.


Modernised and upgraded version with Williams FJ44 engine, improved fuel system and avionics.

Skyleader UL-39 Albi

A carbon-fibre ducted-fan powered scale variant first flown in the Czech Republic on 4 April 2016.


Standard production version.


Export version for Egypt.

49 x L-59s for Egyptian Air Force.


Export version for Tunisia.

12 x L-59s for Tunisian Air Force.

Single seat


The L-159A ALCA is a single seat light multi role combat aircraft designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.

The aircraft is equipped with a multi-mode Doppler Grifo-L radar, for all weather, day and night operations.

It can carry a wide range of NATO standard stores including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs.

The L-159A is in operational service with the Czech and Iraqi air forces.

There are two different configurations being used by the Czech Air Force, the Honeywell 4×4 inch MFDs or the Vdot 5×6.7 inch MFDs are the options.

Avionic upgrades are designed and developed by V-Dot Systems Inc.


The L-159E ALCA is the export designation of L-159A in service with Draken International.


The A-259 Striker, a newly developed light attack aircraft, has been created through a collaborative effort between Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

This advanced aircraft was officially unveiled at the prestigious Farnborough International Airshow, which took place at Farnborough Airport in the United Kingdom in July 2018.

The primary objective behind the development of the A-259 Striker is to replace the highly successful L-159 Alca aircraft and cater to the diverse needs of air forces worldwide in terms of multi-role fighter capabilities.

The A-259 Striker has been specifically designed to excel in various operational roles, including close air support, border patrolling, counter insurgency (COIN), search-and-rescue missions, and reconnaissance operations.

Its design draws inspiration from the L-159 Alca light subsonic attack jet and advanced trainer, incorporating a low-mounted wing configuration and a wet wing design that enhances manoeuvrability and extends the aircraft’s range.

Additionally, the A-259 Striker features a conventional tail configuration with a single vertical stabiliser, ensuring stability and control during flight.

One of the notable advantages of the A-259 Striker is its ability to operate from unpaved airstrips and rough runways, enabling it to carry out missions even in challenging and adverse conditions.

Furthermore, the aircraft can be equipped with air-to-air refuelling systems, which significantly enhance its range and endurance for long-range missions.

With a length of 12.8 metres, a wingspan of 9.75 metres, and a maximum ramp weight of 7,982 kilograms, the A-259 Striker possesses the necessary specifications to fulfil its intended roles effectively and efficiently.


The L-159B, also known as L-159B Albatros II, is a two-seat version primarily designed for Advanced and Operational/Lead-In Fighter Training.

The L-159B configuration can also be tailored to customer specific requirements and adapted to needs of basic training as well as combat missions including air-to-ground, patrol and reconnaissance missions.

The only prototype has been rebuilt by Aero Vodochody into L-159T2X demonstrator.

The aircraft’s designation was changed on 14 December 2015.


The L-159T1 is a two-seat trainer derivative used by the Czech and Iraqi Air Force.

All L-159T1s are modified L-159A airframes taken from storage.

Unlike L-159A, they have just one MFD in each cockpit and no radar.


L-159T1+ aircraft are characterised by an upgraded mission system, avionics and newly installed Grifo-L radar, offering the same combat capability as the single-seat L-159A.


The L-159T2 is a two-seat trainer with full combat capability converted from stored L-159A airframes.

Compared to the L-159T1, it has a higher proportion of newly manufactured components and a Grifo-L radar installed.

Instead of mirroring the instruments to the rear seat, the new two-seater will have independent instruments interchangeable with the L-159A while using the same software configuration.






12.13 m (39 ft 10 in)


9.46 m (31 ft 0 in)


4.77 m (15 ft 8 in)

Wing area

18.8 m2 (202 sq ft)


NACA 64A012 modified

Empty weight

3,455 kg (7,617 lb)

Max take-off weight

4,700 kg (10,362 lb)


1 × Ivchenko AI-25TL turbofan engine,

16.87 kN (3,790 lbf) thrust


Maximum speed

750 km/h (470 mph, 400 kn) at 5,000 m (16,404 ft)

Never exceed speed

980 km/h (610 mph, 530 kn) / M0.8


1,100 km (680 mi, 590 nmi)(internal fuel)

Ferry range

1,750 km (1,090 mi, 940 nmi) (internal and external fuel)


2 hours 30 minutes (internal fuel),

3 hours 50 minutes (internal and external fuel)

Service ceiling

11,000 m (36,000 ft)

Rate of climb

21 m/s (4,100 ft/min)

Time to altitude

5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 5 minutes

Wing loading

250 kg/m2 (51 lb/sq ft)



Take-off roll

530 m (1,739 ft)

Landing roll

650 m (2,133 ft)


Up to 284 kg (626 lb) of storage on two external hardpoints.


Czechoslovakian Air Force, 1918-1970, Aircam Aviation Special 05-Richard Ward, Zdenek Titz & Gordon C. Davies.




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