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Iraq Eyes Czech-Made Jet Fighters: Ministers

Jan. 23, 2012 - 07:54AM   |  
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PRAGUE — The Czech Republic is looking to sell dozens of Czech-made L-159 subsonic jet fighters to Iraq, Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra said after talks Jan. 23 with his Iraqi counterpart in Prague.

"The talks are very intensive ... and concern dozens of planes," Vondra told reporters after meeting Iraq's acting Defence Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi. Al-Dulaimi said Iraq was "really very interested in the planes," which it wants as soon as possible.

Vondra said the Czech side was offering new fighters made by Czech manufacturer Aero Vodochody, as well as 36 unused L-159s, which the defense ministry has been trying to sell for years.

"Iraq is logically interested in new planes ... but it also wants the fighters as fast as possible, so we can use at least part of the unused planes owned by the defense ministry," Vondra said, refusing to give details about the price of the planes, which are facing competition from Britain's Hawk and South Korea's TA-50.

Aero Vodochody, controlled by Czech-Slovak private equity group Penta, is the largest Czech aircraft producer and a subcontractor for Sikorsky, Saab and EADS and other manufacturers.

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