Czechs Replacing Their Airlift Fleet
The Czech Republic’s armed forces aren’t large enough to make large foreign commitments, but the country is a frequent participant in NATO missions abroad, and needs airlift capacity for use during domestic emergencies. It currently depends on Soviet-era AN-26 “Curl” aircraft, which are wearing out quickly, and will need to be replaced soon.
“Czech L-159s: Cheap to Good Home” explored one possibility, which involved a trade of the Czechs’ fine light trainer and attack aircraft, in exchange for EADS-CASA C-295M light transports to replace the AN-26s. That turned out to be the Czechs’ preferred option, and a contract was signed. The EU couldn’t be content to leave well enough alone, of course, and they began legal action around the deal. They didn’t change it, but their efforts may not be the only legal action. Technical problems, and allegations of overpricing, have triggered an investigation within the Czech Republic.
July 3/12: C-295Ms. The deal for 4 C-295M transports continues to be plagued with delays and technical trouble. The planes failed military tests last year, and defects in the navigation and communication systems were finally resolved in May 2012. That cleared them for use as transport planes, but Afghanistan is still off-limits because EADS’ DAS defensive systems failed recent tests in 7/17 areas.
The ministry is now negotiating with Airbus Military and Omnipol to remove the defects. Further penalties are possible, beyond the January 2012 agreement to return one of the L-159 light attack planes. That plane is due to return some time in July 2012.
Meanwhile, the Czech police have reportedly asked the Chamber of Deputies to open the door to charges against former defence minister Parkanova, regarding alleged overpricing of the contract by CZK 658 million crowns. According to reports, the department didn’t even have an expert opinion on the planes’ price worked out. This puts them in the same boat as Canada’s C$ 16+ billion F-35A buy, but apparently the rules are tougher over there. (Prague Daily Monitor)
Source: By Ben Cal (zamboangatoday.ph) - 08 July 2012
Photo: The Czech Rep. Air Force An-26 Curl Transport Aircraft (Photo by CRAF Archive)