The Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) took delivery of an AERO Vodochody L-159T1 two-seat training aircraft during a ceremony at the Balad Air Base on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
The aircraft, with the fuselage number IQAF-5902, was delivered as a part of contract for the L-159 system delivery between AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE a.s. and the Ministry of Defense of Iraq.
The aircraft handover ceremony was attended by the IQAF commander, Czech Ambassador to Iraq Jan Vycital, and representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Iraq. The aircraft was delivered to the IQAF commander, after a symbolic check flight and a brief flight demonstration, by the commander of the 115th Squadron IQAF. The Iraqi commander flew the newly delivered aircraft together with the factory pilot of Aero Vodochody.
Aero L-159 ALCA is a light subsonic attack jet and advanced trainer developed in the single-seat L-159A and two-seat L-159B versions respectively, produced in the Czech Republic by Aero Vodochody.
In 2015, Iraq signed a deal for 14 L-159 aircraft (12 L-159As and 2 L-159T1s).
The L-159A 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 (a variant of the Grifo-F x-band multi-mode, pulse-doppler 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 also in operational service with the Czech Air Force.
The L-159T1 is an improved variant of the L-159B two-seat trainer derivative used by the Czech and Iraqi Air Force.
The first two Czech L-159s were delivered to Iraq on 5 November 2015. In May 2016, L-159 aircraft were used by the Iraqi Air Force to attack ISIL positions in Fallujah. In October and November 2016, L-159 aircraft operated by Squadron No 115 were deployed in the battle against the ISIS at the Southern outskirts of Mosul.