Aero Vodochody has secured a CZK1.6bn ($69m) contract from Czech Ministry of Defence for maintenance of 16 L-159 aircraft for four years.

Maintenance work under the PP16 contract will comprise inspection of all parts of the aircraft, including the complete equipment. The contract includes the renewal of the operating period for the next eight years.

The PP16 contract involves several upgrades, including adjustment for use of night vision goggles (NVG).

The PP16 is a second regular maintenance check of single-seat L-159 aircraft. Aero performed the initial check after eight years of service in 2009-13.

Aero will work with the Czech Army to make the whole L-159 fleet NVG compatible.

All L-159T2 aircraft are prepared for training in night vision. Adaptation for NVG also forms part of the L-159T1 upgrade to T1+.

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The upgrade will also include the installation of electronic standby instrument system (ESIS), which is able to substitute several standby instruments and provide attitude, airspeed, altitude, vertical speed and heading data to the pilot in case of panel failure.

Aero Vodochody president Dieter John said: “Together, we are working to ensure that the L-159 serving in the Czech Air Force meets the requirements for modern aircraft to perform military operations and advanced pilot training, and to allow the Czech military to meet its international obligations.

“Thanks to close cooperation with our most important customer, we can further improve and extend the capabilities of the L-159 aircraft.”

The light multi-role combat aircraft L-159 is equipped with a multi-mode radar for all-weather, day and night operations and has been designed for various air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.

It is capable of carrying a range of Nato standard stores, including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser-guided bombs.

In June 2017, the Czech Ministry of Defense signed a contract with Aero Vodochody to modernise and upgrade the army’s L-159 aircraft.