The Czech Republic plans to acquire new helicopters to replace its Mi-35s and Mi-24s. Here, an Mi-24 patrols in Venezuela. (Pedro Rey/Agence France-Presse)
WARSAW — The Czech Armed Forces are aiming to acquire 16 new multipurpose helicopters. Deliveries are scheduled to take place from 2016 to 2020, reported local news agency CTK.
Lt. Gen. Petr Pavel, chief of the General Staff, said the new helicopters are designed to replace the Czech military’s Russian-built Mil Mi-24 and Mi-35 helos. Under the plan, the aircraft will be withdrawn from service between 2016 and 2018.
“After this period, we will not maintain [the helicopters] in service because their overhaul and servicing would cost us money that we simply don’t want to spend,” Pavel said.
The new helicopters are to be outfitted for use in a wide range of operations, including combat, transport, search-and-rescue and medical evacuation missions, according to the general.
Pavel did not disclose which helicopter is most likely to be ordered by the Czech Republic, but said there are six manufacturers whose aircraft are of interest to the military.
The Czech military helicopter fleet consists of W-3A Sokol helicopters manufactured by AgustaWestland’s Polish subsidiary PZL Swidnik, and Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-24 and Mi-35 copters built by the state-owned Moscow Mil helicopter plant.
The amount of the planned purchase was not disclosed by the general. The Czech Defense Ministry was allocated a budget of 41.99 billion krona (US $2.11 billion) for 2014. ■