The Czech Republic air force is to lose the majority of its fleet of new Aero Vodochody-built L-159 advanced light combat aircraft, after the country's government approved the disposal of 47 of the service's 71-strong inventory of the type.

Just 18 of the air force's L-159s will be kept in squadron service, with another six to be held in reserve.

A number of countries are interested in purchasing the surplus aircraft, says Czech defence ministry spokesman Ladislav Sticha, who declines to name them.

However, Egypt, Greece, Hungary and Israel are among those countries to have shown previous interest in the Czech design.

Hungary first showed interest in the L-159 in 1997, and currently has a number of pilots training on the L-159A at Kecskem‚t air base south of Budapest.

Poland is considered to be another prospective buyer for the type, with the country to build a training centre for fighter pilots from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia within the next two years.

The Czech Republic air force was the launch - and so far only - customer for the L-159, originally taking delivery of 72 aircraft. One of these was destroyed in a crash.

Source: Flight International