Four out of five aircrafts returned to the Czech Republic after four months of service in Estonia
Three out of five JAS-39 Gripen aircrafts that served in Estonia for four months landed on Thursday, 2nd January, around 1.30 p.m. at the airport in Čáslav. The aircrafts of the Czech Army performed tasks in the Baltic countries under the NATO Integrated Air-and-Missile Defence System since last September. The fourth aircraft landed later in the afternoon due to bad weather at the airport in Pardubice. The fifth aircraft had technical problems and has remained at the airport in Šiaulia in Lithuania.
Czech fighter pilots and other soldiers worked at Ämari airport in Estonia from which they ensured the implementation of the allied commitments of the Czech Republic in terms of the protection of the airspace of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia within the NATO forces.
Thirteen sharp take-offs and hundreds of flying hours
The Czech fighter pilots accomplished 13 sharp take-offs and hundreds of flying hours. Apart from the sharp take-offs of the aircrafts, which did not communicate with the air traffic control, had no flight plans or transponders on, the pilots underwent joint training missions with the Allied Forward Units that NATO deployed in the area or they also practiced in-flight refuelling.
“The mission was successfully completed. It brought pilots and other contingent members a lot of new knowledge and experience from the international environment,” said the Colonel Petr Tománek, Commander of the 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav.
The Czech Army sent five aircrafts to Estonia and about seventy-five members of the flight crew and ground personnel mostly from the 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav. The five aircrafts were deployed from 1st September to 31st December 2019 to guard the airspace of the Baltic Sea States which do not have their own supersonic air force. The Czech soldiers have been replaced by the members of the Polish Air Force with the F-16 aircrafts at the Estonian base.
The first part of the members of the 3rd Task Force of the Army of the Czech Republic, Baltic Air Policing 2019, returned back to their home country in the evening. The homecoming of the second half of the contingent is scheduled to Thursday, 9th January.