Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Czechs, Slovaks to help protect each other's skies

ČTK |
10 January 2017

Prague, Jan 9 (CTK) - The Czech and Slovak armies will start help protect each other's skies as of the summer, according to an agreement the Czech cabinet approved on Monday, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) has written on Twitter.

The Slovak cabinet approved the agreement previously.

The document will now be submitted to the two countries' parliaments and presidents for ratification.

After taking effect, it will enable pilots to intervene, including by force, if terrorists planned to misuse a hijacked plane, for instance.

NATO secures its skies protection by means of the NATINAMDS joint anti-aircraft defence system.

The Czech Republic has provided two of its Gripen fighters for it. They operate under the NATO command.

The Defence Ministry, nevertheless says, NATINAMDS is exclusively meant as defence against military threats and it does not ensure any protection against civilian planes misused for a terrorist attack.

"The [Czech-Slovak] agreement defines cooperation in the cases that cannot be tackled within NATO's anti-aircraft defence system. These are mainly situations of civilian planes hijacked by terrorists, or mutual assistance if the air force of one of the countries becomes incapable of operation," Stropnicky said.

According to a previous statement by the Slovak Defence Ministry, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will each continue ensuring their sky protection separately. They would help each other only if a suspicious plane headed for the other country's skies or if one of the countries temporarily ran out of air protection equipment or staff.

The Czech Republic does not have any such agreement with any other country.

The Slovak fighter fleet has Russian-made MiG-29s while the Czech air force uses JAS-Gripens.

Bratislava has been negotiating with Sweden about the purchase or lease of Gripens.

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