Saturday, 23 March 2019

Czech army to buy new transport planes to replace two Yakovlevs

14 February 2017

Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) - Czech Defence Ministry will decide in the first half of the year on what aircraft will replace two old Yakovlev Yak-40 tri-jet airliners, Minister Martin Stropnicky told journalists during his visit to the Prague-Kbely military airport on Monday.

He did not say what kind of aircraft the Defence Ministry would like to buy.

The approval process is rather difficult because the aircraft will cost billions of crowns, Stropnicky said.

He said the aircraft would be primarily for military use but with the possibility of being converted for the transport of passengers or of patients and injured people.

Four CASA transport planes that the military uses enable such convertibility.

The lifespan of one Russian-made Yak-40 will expire in two years and of the other in three years. In 2021, another of the military's small transport aircraft, Challenger, will have to be put out of operation. Extending the Challenger's service life would cost too much, Stropnicky said.

He said the Defence Ministry will not buy a large transport plane because it is cheaper to lease such an aircraft.

Germany recently offered some other countries, including the Czech Republic, to share its big transport Airbus A400Ms. "I would welcome it if we reached an agreement on it," Stropnicky said about the possible sharing.

He said the control tower of the Prague-Kbely airport had more updated software and equipment than control towers in some other NATO member states.

Stropnicky said high investments will be made in the building and equipment of the airport in the next ten years.

In 2018-19, the aviation fuel store will be reconstructed, he said.

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