Joint training of Czech and German F-35 pilot
Recently, a key meeting of the Czech and German Air Force Commanders took place in Prague. The main topic was the planning of future operations and joint training for the introduction of the F-35 aircraft. The German Bundestag approved the purchase of 35 state-of-the-art fighter jets for the German Air Force in December 2022, while the Czech government supported the purchase of 24 F-35s for the Czech Air Force last September.
Luftwaffe Commander Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz was welcomed by the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces Lieutenant General Karel Rehka and his Czech counterpart Major General Petr Čepelka.
The multirole F-35s represent the pinnacle of technological advancement and capability, and are the only 5th generation, mass-produced aircraft in the world. Germany plans to introduce the first machines into service in 2026, the first aircraft are due to arrive in the Czech Republic at the beginning of the next decade, and the Czech Army expects to reach full operational capability in 2035.
One of the key points of the discussion was the strategy of joint training, thanks to which pilots of both armies will gain top skills and necessary experience. "This will contribute not only to strengthening the defence capabilities of both countries, but also to better coordination and efficiency of international operations," General Čepelka noted.
The introduction of the F-35 aircraft not only benefits both militaries, it will also contribute to strengthening strategic cooperation between Germany and the Czech Republic. "This investment in a modern air force demonstrates both countries' commitment to maintaining a secure and stable region," General Čepelka pointed out.
According to the Luftwaffe Commander, the joint deployment of the F-35 aircraft not only creates a strong alliance between Germany and the Czech Republic, but also represents an important step towards the future development of the air force in Europe," General Gerhartz said.
Challenges and systemic solutions for pilot training in the 21st century, including possible cooperation between nations, were discussed last year at the Future Air Force conference in Prague, which brought together Air Force leaders from 24 countries on four continents.
Possibilities for cooperation in the ESSI air defence project are also being explored
The generals also discussed opportunities for cooperation on a comprehensive European air defence project called the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI). Its aim is to work together to build a robust, multi-layered air defence. The project was introduced to NATO allies by Germany and supported by 15 countries last October.
They also discussed plans for joint exercises this year and next year and the start of training Czech personnel for the JFAC (Joint Force Component Tactical Command Post) in 2027. Theoretical JFAC courses have already been completed by members of the Czech Air Force in Kalkar, Germany, and General Čepelka has expressed interest in their participation in the Weapons Instructor Course.
Germany will be at this year's 24th NATO Days and 14th NATO Days. Air Force Days in the Czech Republic. "This concept offers a unique presentation of a selected country, which can present its armed forces, security forces, as well as products of companies operating in the defence and security industry on an extraordinary scale at the event," General Čepelka pointed out.