Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has launched a new version of the L-159 light-attack trainer aircraft, the F/A-259 Striker.
New avionics and a wet-wing capability have been introduced into the concept trainer, which is being pitched for the U.S. Air Force’s OA-X light-attack aircraft competition, despite the service down-selecting two turboprops for the experimental stage of the project.
The USAF has already invited Textron Aviation and Sierra Nevada/Embraer to take part in an evaluation exercise with their Beechcraft AT-6 and A-29 Super Tucano, respectively.
However, Giuseppe Giordo, the President and CEO of Aero, says the USAF “cannot afford the risk of flying with turboprops.” “We do believe that US pilots need to have the best assets in close air support missions. This is not a developmental airplane. It has been used in a real operational war environment and can perform many roles.”
Giordo says F/A-259 production lines could be established – one building the latest version for the transatlantic requirement with IAI and a possible U.S. partner.
Giordo says, “Nowadays, national air forces are looking for a solution how to fulfill a great variety of missions in an affordable way, while keeping high survivability of the aircraft and its crew. Aero and IAI are introducing a multirole fighter F/A-259 Striker with a wide range of combat capabilities that meet those needs of Air Forces all around the world by bringing great performance with low acquisition, operation and maintenance cost.” “There are not so many aircraft on the market providing such capabilities, because it is a new requirement,” he adds.
The F/A-259 Striker combines the robustness and effectiveness of its successful predecessor, the L-159 Alca, with the latest advances in avionics and aircraft systems technology. Using benefits of a wet wing, F/A-259 Striker provides superior performance, great maneuverability, and a high range.
IAI Lahav Division general manager Benjamin Cohen says: “Our cooperation with Aero Vodochody offers the USAF impressive proven performance of the F/A-259 with new innovative IAI systems to provide customers with aircraft that meet their OA-X requirements.
The F/A-259 is able to operate from unpaved runways and has seven hard points for any combination of fuel, weapons, or mission equipment, allowing smart weapons integration and standoff weapon capabilities. As an optional upgrade, the F/A-259 can be equipped by EASA radar and helmet mounted display. Another optional upgrade is air-to-air refueling, increasing the aircraft’s range and endurance.
Advance 4th generation avionics for the F/A-259 Striker has an open architecture concept, allowing future updates based on customer’s requirements and use of Real Time Data Link, supporting a high situational awareness capability. The advanced digital cockpit is equipped by two large multifunctional displays, electronic flight instrument system, and other features.
Powered by a Honeywell F124 turbofan, the Striker has an avionics suite provided by IAI that offers advanced combat capabilities. IAI can also provide an Elta multi-mode radar if required.