New aircraft for government squadron. The contract should be signed later this year.

 26. 12. 2019      category: Army of the Czech Republic

In September this year, the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces launched a tender for a new aircraft to replace both the outgoing JAK-40s and the Challenger aircraft, which lately happens to be frequently out of operation. The tender was unsuccessful and only one company entered the competition. Everything is completely different now and the purchase is afoot. According to the information from our ACR source, the contract for the purchase of a new aircraft will be signed this year. It will probably be a last-minute signature and at least a part of the remaining billions in the defence budget for this year will be used.

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Picture: Challenger 601-3A on service of the Czech Armed Forces | army.cz

“The defence will have to deal with unused money again this year. It will amount to least 1.5 billion crowns. That will be added to the 2020 budget, which now amounts to 75.5 billion crowns,” said Ondřej Stratilík from the Euro magazine.  According to the information from a trustworthy source familiar with the course of the tender, this amount will significantly decrease, specifically by about 700 million crowns. That was the amount the Defence department intended to pay for a new or lightly used aircraft.

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Picture: Jak-40 | army.cz

It can be assumed that the sum will not change significantly.  Unless there is a last-minute surprise such as a trip of the Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar or the Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to the USA.  The latest bill for 17.7 billion crowns issued by the US, including the VAT for new helicopters, could possibly even increase. But that is all just guesswork.

Currently the army uses the aircrafts Jak-40 and Challenger 601-3A. Jak-40 (NATO Codling) is a Russian three-engine jet airliner. It was designed as a replacement for the outgoing Li-2 propeller aircraft. The first prototype flew on 21st October 1966. The CL-601 is a Twinjet, designed for long-haul flights.  The prototype of this small but very modern aircraft first flew on 8th November 1978.

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Picture: Who will become the supplier of new or newish aircraft is not yet known. However, this should change at the very end of the year. (Illustrative photo) | army.cz

Who will become the supplier of new or newish aircraft is not yet known, but the aircraft will probably be a two-engine business jet Bombardier Global 5000. The aircraft has been manufactured since 2005 by the American company Bombardier Aerospace. The modern design and the flying range of nearly 10,000 kilometres make it a great choice and will be nothing new in the service area. Said manufacturer is already represented in the government squadron by the aircraft CL-601 Challenger.

Let's go through the Defence department's requirements.  The aircraft should be equipped with at least four chairs at a table and at least six sleeping places.  The Defence department wants to purchase a new plane, or a plane produced after 2012, which flew less than 4000 flying hours. Its maximum take-off mass has to be less than 42,500 kg. When we look at the market, we find a whole range of aircrafts in the given configuration and there is no point in listing them all specifically. So let's wait for the end of the year to see how the plan of the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces will turn out.

 Author: Martin Šiška