Aero Vodochody agrees L-159 marketing deal with Saab and Gripen

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Aero Vodochody is to co-operate with Saab and Gripen International in the marketing and possible sale of the Czech manufacturer's L-159 advanced light combat aircraft, with their 20 May agreement also to cover the continued development and upgrade of the subsonic trainer for the Czech air force.

Company sources have declined to name potential target countries for the possible sale of L-159A/Bs, around 50 of which are in storage after having been deemed surplus to requirements by the Czech government. EADS recently expressed interested in a possible barter deal under which it would acquire five L-159s in exchange for one EADS Casa C-295 transport, with a similar offer having been made by Alenia Aeronautica for one C-27J Spartan transport.

l-159
 © APG Photography/AirSpace

Under the new agreement, Aero Vodochody will also expand its production facilities to start supporting Saab projects, with sources saying this could include the production of some components for the Gripen. Another aspect of the joint working agreement will lead to studies into the possible creation of a common logistics support structure for the Czech air force's retained fleet of 24 L-159s and 14 Gripen C/Ds, with the latter being operated under a lease-to-buy deal with Sweden's Defence Materiel Administration.