Czech Republic to receive eight more H-1 helicopters from US

Czech Republic to receive eight more H-1 helicopters from US

22-Aug-2022 Source: Czech Republic Military


[electronic translate] The Czech Republic will receive eight helicopters of the H1 system for free from the USA. This was confirmed by Defense Minister Jana Černochová during today’s visit to the 24th Air Transport Base. In total, the Czech Air Force will receive 20 American machines: 10 multipurpose UH-1Y Venom and 10 AH-1Z Viper fighters. It will replace the outdated Mi-35/24V in the Czech army from 2023.

“I am pleased to announce yesterday that we were able to negotiate with the United States of America that in addition to eight new Venom multi-role helicopters and four Viper attack helicopters from the US, we will receive an additional 6 Viper attack helicopters and 2 Venom multi-role machines as a gift,” she said today during a visit to the base in Prague’s Kbely by Defense Minister Jana Černochová.

The minister agreed on the delivery of eight machines during her visit to Washington in April. These will be helicopters already in use, but fully operational. “It will be a donation, we will only pay the price of repairs, reconstruction according to our requirements, transport to the Czech Republic and other related costs. At the moment, it is not possible to quantify them exactly, but compared to the price of new helicopters, these are incomparable amounts,” she said.

She announced repeatedly in the past months that the originally agreed 12 helicopters were not enough. According to her earlier statement, the war in Ukraine clearly showed that air support is necessary in a conventional conflict.

Not just NATO compatibility

The air force currently has 8 Mi-35/24V combat helicopters in service in the Czech army since 2003. This is a morally and physically outdated technique that the Soviets already used during the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s .

“The Mi-24 helicopters, which are being phased out, can, if necessary, be used as a source of spare parts for the Mi-171Š machines, or they can also be offered for sale,” said Brigadier General Petr Čepelka, director of the Ministry of Defense’s Forces Development Section.

According to the colonel gst. Miroslav Šajban, head of the section’s helicopter and transport aviation department, by switching to new technology, the army will acquire modern machines for the 21st century and at the same time reduce its dependence on Russia. “Also, the fact that we will receive two different types of machines – one multi-purpose (UH-1Y Venom), which can be used for transporting small groups and can also act against ground targets, is not to be neglected. The AH-1Z Viper type is then expected to operate in combat operations.”

With the new American helicopters, the Czech army will also receive appropriate equipment: specifically guided air-to-ground missiles Hellfire and Sidewinder missiles for air-to-air operations.

  • In the USA, two groups of pilots and technicians from Náměště nad Oslavou are being retrained for new types of helicopters starting in July. Bell’s mobile training team will train local personnel in the Czech Republic for a period of two years before they fully master the helicopter operation and maintenance system.
  • The Czech defense industry, including the state-owned enterprises LOM Praha and VTÚ, as well as the companies Ray Service, Aero Vodochody and VR Group, will participate in the order with more than a third share. LOM Praha will provide life cycle support for helicopters, which will take place at the new H1 plant. A simulation center will be established in Náměšt nad Oslavou for the training of ground and flying personnel on new machines.
  • The intergovernmental agreement for the purchase of 8 UH-1Y Venom multipurpose helicopters and 4 AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters was signed on December 12, 2019 by the then defense ministers of the Czech Republic and the USA, Lubomír Metnar and Mark Esper.

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