Prague, May 4 (CTK) – A Czech military team of aviation advisers will start working in Iraq in June to help train pilots of the L-159 aircraft, the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, smoothly approved the mission on Wednesday.
The Senate, the upper house, gave consent to it previously.
The team of up to 35 experts that should stay in Iraq by the end of 2018 will be deployed within the operation against Islamic State.
The team will work at the Balad air base, situated about 80 km away of Baghdad, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) said.
However, it will be sent to Iraq without the aviation equipment and it will not take part in combat operations, he added.
The team will be comprised of two pilots-instructors, six technicians-instructors, eight security guards, one health care worker, the commander and five staff members, the chief of staff and six logistics, communication and intelligence experts.
Thirty people will be gradually deployed in Iraq, while another five will be reserves to reinforce the team if need be, Stropnicky said.
The mission is to cost up to 265 million crowns that will be covered from the Defence Ministry’s budget, he said.
The team members will continue training the Iraqi pilots who had until recently trained in the Czech Republic to fly the L-159s that the Czech Republic is selling to Iraq.
The Aero Vodochody aircraft maker has sent civilian employees to Iraq. They are to secure the service of the planes.
The Czech military experts should explain to Iraqis the system of spare parts purchasing and ordering and inform them about the maintenance as well as tactics and flying.
The military wants to use its experience from Afghanistan where a training aviation team has operated since 2008.
The mission was supported by 149 out of the 157 deputies present, including most of the opposition Communists (KSCM).