The Czech aircraft manufacturer, Aero Vodochody, and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), introduced a new fighter attack aircraft, F/A-259 Striker, during the Farnborough airshow in the United Kingdom. The F/A-259 Striker is a multirole aircraft for close air support, counter-insurgency operations and border patrolling with interception capabilities. It combines the robustness of its predecessor, the L-159 Alca, with modernized avionics and aircraft systems.
A major target market is the US Air Force. Benjamin Cohen, General Manager of Israel Aerospace Industries’ Lahav Division, said that Aero Vodochody and IAI, “offers the USAF proven performance with new innovative IAI systems to meet their OA-X requirements.”
The F/A-259 is able to operate from unpaved runways and has seven hard points for any combination of fuel, weapons, or mission equipment, allowing smart weapons integration and standoff weapon capabilities. As an optional upgrade, the F/A-259 can be equipped by EASA radar and helmet mounted display. Another optional upgrade is air-to-air refueling, increasing the aircraft’s range and endurance.
Giuseppe Giordo, the President and CEO of Aero, estimated that the current Worldwide market for multirole light attack aircrafts reaches about 350 units. “We believe we will be able to sell 200 units. National air forces are looking for a solution how to fulfill a great variety of missions in an affordable way, while keeping high survivability of the aircraft and its crew. F/A-259 Striker meets those needs. There are not so many aircraft on the market providing such capabilities, because it is a new requirement.”
The F/A-259 Striker has a fully digital cockpit and an open 4th generation avionics architecture concept, allowing future updates based on customer’s requirements and use of Real Time Data Link, supporting a high situational awareness capability. The advanced digital cockpit is equipped by two large multifunctional displays, electronic flight instrument system, and other features.
The main change in the structure involves the wings. The previous tip fuel tanks were replaces with a new “wet wing”, that store the fuel inside the wing. This brings improvement in the aerodynamics and the installation of self-defence air-to-air missiles. The F/A-259 Striker has a 9.75 meters wingspan and is 12.8 meters long. It can reach Mach 0.82 and can carry loads of up to 2,722 kg.