Czechoslovakia originally ordered 72 of Aero Vodochody’s sub-sonic L-159A single-seat light attack jets. Their preceding L-39/59 Albatros trainer and light attack aircraft family became the world’s most popular jet trainers during the Cold War, and the L-159A Advanced Light Combat Aircraft was positioned as a modern derivative, offering full combat capability and compatibility with western weapons. The resulting aircraft filled a useful niche for the Czechs, but its overall success always depended on exports.
Unfortunately, the Soviet Union’s demise lost the Albatros family its global market niche, and killed the military aid subsidies that had helped promote it. Worse, the L-159′s program cost grew from CZK 20-30 billion to over 51 billion Koruna. That left the Czech government in a bind. In response, they kept 24-35 jets for operational use, and have been trying to sell off 36-47 of the L-159As (one aircraft has been lost) since 2002. They also moved to privatize state-owned Aero Vodochody, which took place in November 2006.
A few 2-seat L-159T conversions have been performed with CzAF funding, as a demonstration of their potential to become dual-role trainer/attack aircraft. That has helped Aero tout the planes to Afghanistan, Bolivia, Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Nigeria… and Iraq, where they finally had a breakthrough.