Czech Air Force enters the 21st century with US-made Viper fighter helicopters

The first of a dozen new helicopters was officially taken over by Czech officials and will arrive next month. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.04.2023 10:19:00 (updated on 03.04.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

The Czech Air Force is becoming modernized with new U.S.-made weaponry, replacing outdated Soviet-made armaments. Czech officials went to Texas to take part in the first handover of the first Viper fighter helicopter.

In 2019, then-Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar and his American counterpart Mark Esper signed an agreement to purchase of 12 new helicopters. At the time, the purchase price was reported as CZK 14.6 billion.

Last year U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová reached an agreement for the U.S. to donate eight more helicopters as compensation for its support of Ukraine. Altogether, the two deals with the U.S. will result in Czechia receiving 10 Vipers and 10 Venom helicopters. 

Altogether, the two deals with the U.S. will result in Czechia receiving 10 Vipers and 10 Venom helicopters. Čepelka said the helicopters can work together. "Vipers provide offensive air support, Venoms independently or in cooperation provide maneuvering, logistics, and close fire support," Čepelka said.

Replacements for outdated Soviet-made equipment

Czech Deputy Defense Minister František Šulc and Brigadier General Petr Čepelka, the commander of the Czech Air Force took part in the handover of the new Viper helicopter at the Bell Textron factory in Amarillo, Texas.

The first ones will arrive in Czechia in the spring. "It's an important step in the modernization of the military," Šulc said. The Vipers will replace outdated Soviet-made Mi 24V/35 helicopters.

Every new combat helicopter that rolls off the production line must first be taken over by the U.S. government. After that, the Czech Army can take over the helicopters.

Brigadier General Petr Čepelka said the American helicopters bring completely new capabilities and methods of deployment and represent a comprehensive system that will move the Czech helicopter air force into the 21st century.

The initial training has already taken place in the U.S., and a simulator recently arrived in the Czech Republic. Further training courses will now continue in Czechia.

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