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Aero L-59 Super Albatros

Czechoslovakia (1986)
Picture of Aero L-59 Super Albatros Advanced Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft

No longer available from Czech aviation company Aero, the L-59 Super Albatros was eventually upgraded to become the L-159 ALCA series.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Aero L-59 Super Albatros Advanced Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Aero Vodochody was established in post-war Europe during early 1919 and made a name for itself as a developer of capable Czech-originated aircraft. Its line included the A.11 series biplane of 1921 all the way to the popular jet-powered L-39 "Albatros" two-seat trainer of 1972. From the latter spawned a series of similar aircraft that included the improved L-59 "Super Albatros" of 1986 and the more modern L-159 ALCA. The L-59 was eventually adopted by Czechoslovakia, Egypt, and Tunisia.

The L-59 was developed along the same jet-powered, twin-seat trainer lines as the L-39 before it. The aircraft incorporated a tandem two-seat configuration (student in front, instructor in rear) with a single Progress DV-2 turbofan engine developing 4,850lbs of thrust. Compared to the L-39, the L-59 received a lengthened, reinforced fuselage structure, modernized avionics and a more powerful engine fitting. HUD (Head-Up Display) was added in the cockpit for improved situational awareness and mission support. Dimensions included a length of 12.2 meters, a wingspan of 9.5 meters, and a height of 4.7 meters. Empty weight was 8,865lbs with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 15,435lbs. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 535 miles per hour with a range out to 1,245 miles and service ceiling of 38,785 feet. Rate-of-climb neared 5,510 feet per minute.

First flight of a prototype form occurred on September 30th, 1986. Production then spanned from 1986 to 1996 to which the L-59 was adopted by the Czechoslovak Air Force as the L-39MS in a batch of six aircraft. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993, four of the aircraft fell into service with the new Czech Air Force and the remaining aircraft went to the Slovak Air Force. Two slightly different export marks were then delivered as the L-59E to Egypt (49 examples) and the L-59T to Tunisia (12 examples). These were all that were produced from Aero Vodochody signifying the end of manufacture for the L-59 series (67 were built in all). Its replacement became the L-159 ALCA (Advanced Light Combat Aircraft) which saw production reach 72 and deliveries to the Czech Republic and Iraq.

Though a trainer by design, the L-59 retained certain combat capabilities about her. It was not a 4th Generation frontline multi-role fighter as found in the West or Russia but its airframe proved suitable for the light strike role, allowing it to become something of a tempting purchase to more budget-conscious nations requiring the dual-role service of a single airframe that trained pilots and also offered inherent Close-Air Support (CAS) or low-level strike functionality. As such, when armed for combat (or even weapons training), armed versions carried a single Soviet-inspired GSh-23L cannon in a pod mounted under the fuselage for short-range work. Four underwing hardpoints also supported up to 2,200lb of externally-held ordnance which allowed the L-59 to be outfitted with standard conventional drop bombs, rocket pods, or gun pods as required.

Tunisian L-59 aircraft are set to receive an overhaul.

Any available statistics for the Aero L-59 Super Albatros Advanced Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (537mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Aero L-59E Super Albatros's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
67
67


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Czechoslovakia
Year: 1986
Type: Advanced Trainer / Light Strike Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Aero Vodochody - Czechoslovakia
Production: 67
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Czechoslovakia; Czech Republic; Egypt; Tunisia; Slovakia
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Aero L-59E Super Albatros model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
40.03 ft


Meters
12.2 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
31.30 ft


Meters
9.54 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
15.65 ft


Meters
4.77 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
8,818 lb


Kilograms
4,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
15,432 lb


Kilograms
7,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Lotarev DV-2 turbofan engine developing 4,850 lbs of thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
537 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
865 kph


Knots
467 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,243 mi


Kilometers
2,000 km


Nautical Miles
1,080 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
38,714 ft


Meters
11,800 m


Miles
7.33 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
5,510 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,679 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft machine gun pod
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

STANDARD:
1 x 23mm GSh-23L cannon in centerline gunpod.

OPTIONAL (across four underwing hardpoints):
Various air-to-surface munitions including missiles, guided bombs and conventional drop bombs as well as rocket pods. Up to 2,200lbs of carried ordnance.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• L-59 "Super Albatros" - Base Series Designation; base production model designation for Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic/Slovakia.
• L-59E - Egyptian Air Force export model; 49 examples delivered.
• L-59T - Tunisian Air Force export model; 12 examples delivered.