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Iraqi helicopter pilots end training in Czech Republic

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Pardubice, East Bohemia, July 25 (CTK) – Thirty-one Iraqi helicopter pilots completed their “tailor-made” training of more than one year at the Pardubice air training centre on Monday, Roman Planicka, director of the LOM Praha state firm under which the centre falls, has said.

“The students came here without any knowledge whatsoever and they covered the road from complete theory to the gradual training on the Schweizer light helicopter, the Mi 2 helicopter and the type training on the Mi 17 helicopter,” Planicka said.

In the past, pilots of the armed forces, including Afghanistan and the United States, were trained in Pardubice.

LOM is now negotiating with Iraq about the training of another group of soldiers who could start their year-long stay in Pardubice this autumn.

The training costs are covered by Iraq.

“This (training) is part of the coalition’s joint procedure against Islamic State,” Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said, adding that the strategy is to help the Iraqi military with training or equipment.

He said within a couple of weeks, a Czech air training team will leave for the Balad air base north of Baghdad to train Iraqi pilots on the L-159 aircraft, which the Czech Republic sold to Iraq, until the end of 2017.

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