Prague, Nov 5 (CTK) – The first Czech L-159 combat planes were delivered to Iraq yesterday, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky wrote on Twitter, adding that the country “succeeded in realising this deal after years of failures.”
The Czech military approved the sale of 15 redundant L-159s to Iraq, from which the Aero Vodochody aircraft producer completed 12 planes for the Iraqi air forces.
Aero Vodochody confirmed that the first aircraft were handed over to the Iraqis.
“We will comment neither on any details of the contract nor on the dates of further deliveries,” Ivo Mravinac, spokesman for the Penta group that owns Aero Vodochody, told CTK.
The Czech Republic tried to sell the redundant L-159s for many years.
In 2014, the Defence Ministry and Aero Vodochody signed a contract on the basis of which Aero would sell 21 training aircraft to the U.S. company Draken International. Draken is to receive the first eight L-159s this year.
The military bought 72 Aero-Vodochody-made L-159s for 51 billion crowns in the past. It does not need the 32 of its planes.
The money that the military gets for the sale of the redundant aircraft will be used to turn three mothballed one-seat L-159s into two-seat ones.