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Gov’t to receive U.S. bid for helicopters in late summer

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Prague, June 16 (CTK) – The U.S. government will present its final bid for the delivery of 12 helicopters for the Czech military to the Czech government at the end of the summer, Rear Admiral Frank Morley, from the U.S. Department of the Navy, and Rich Harris, from Bell, told journalists in Prague today.

The Czech Defence Ministry wants to a sign a contract worth 10-15 billion crowns based on an inter-governmental agreement. Apart from Bell, the Italian-British concern AgustaWestland is interested in the contract, which is also to include the servicing of the helicopters and training of pilots.

Bell offers the UH-1Y helicopter called Yankee, which has commonly been used by the U.S. Marine Corps since 2008.

Harris said UH-1Y exports were permitted three years ago. The only country that has bought the Yankees so far is Pakistan, however, some other European countries also showed interest in them, he said.

Morley, who is deputy assistant secretary of the Navy, said the purchase of the Yankees would reinforce cooperation between the Czech and U.S. armed forces. Cooperation in military operations would be easier if both countries used the same helicopters, he said.

U.S. troops used the Yankees for example in Afghanistan.

Morley said he talked about the possible helicopter contract with representatives of the Czech Defence Ministry and the Czech military during his current visit to Prague.

Harris said the UH-1Y helicopters are to be presented at the NATO Days that will be held in Ostrava, north Moravia, in September.

($1=23.468 crowns)

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