Prague to swap L-159s for C-295

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The Czech government has approved a memorandum of understanding with EADS, under which the latter would provide the Czech army with an EADS Casa C-295 transport in exchange for five subsonic Aero Vodochody L-159 advanced light combat aircraft surplus to air force requirements.

Signature of the document will be followed by several months of talks, during which the contract would be concluded, the Czech defence ministry has confirmed, adding that the transport could then be delivered within a year.

The MoU also includes an EADS offer to sell the Czech air force another three C-295s, plus three options. This could see the manufacturer acquire five more L-159s, although a further option could see Prague seek to acquire Airbus Military's A400M.

 
 © EADS Casa

Alenia Aeronautica is also interested in supplying the Czech Republic with C-27J Spartan transports, while the defence ministry has not excluded possible interest in Lockheed Martin's C-130J.

Local daily Právo recently quoted the army's chief of staff Lt Gen Vlastimil Picek as saying that the C-295 is not suitable for the Czech air force in either its transport capacity or flying range.