The army aviation shipping capacities are insufficient

 16. 08. 2019      category: Army of the Czech Republic

The Army of the Czech Republic, respectively the Ministry of Defence, is going to buy a new plane, which might convey 19 persons and has to cost up to 578 million CZK without VAT. Is it really enough to buy a sole plane for the need of MoD, the Czech Army and transport of constitutional officials? 

“A small transport plane will be purchased by reason of urgent necessity to ensure transportation of governmental and constitutional officials,“ said the ministry speaker Jiří Caletka about the procurement. It should be a Business jet category plane able to transport 14 to 19 persons over long distances.

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Picture: Airbus A-319CJ on service of the Czech Armed Forces | army.cz

MoD in its preliminary inquiry specified parameters of the demanded plane. It should be equipped at least by four arm-chairs around a table and at least by six places for sleeping. 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.

The procurement will be announced this very year, literally during a couple of weeks, till the end of September. It is a reaction to permanent problems with the current flight. The end-of-life JAK-40 aircraft are behind the presumable zenith point and in addition, due to emission and other limits, they are not allowed to be used for long distances, let alone avionic equipment. A pair of Airbuses with a capacity between 40 and 120 persons are permanently fully-loaded and serve for the transportation of soldiers to missions, but of course they are also intended for long transoceanic travel. The L-410 turbo planes can transport just a limited number of passengers at a short distance. The Challenger, with regard to maintenance and its age, is so expensive that we cannot count on it in the coming years.

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

The army, however, should gain a pair of the Casa C-295MW aircraft for 2.3 milliard CZK without VAT, which are used, although only to a limited extend, for transporting persons; however, it is disputable whether its comfort is sufficient for the transportation of the highest officials, and its representation, thus, is almost zero.

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Picture: CASA C-295 of the Air Forces of the Czech Republic at CIAF 2011 | Wikimedia Commons

Though even two new CASAs couldn’t cope up - with regards to the deployment in Sinai - with service roundabouts and so on. In addition, wicked tongues say that aircraft are used more frequently for transporting Przewalski's horses to Mongolia than for whatever other transport due to limited shipping and dimensional capacity of the aircraft. And there is no use talking about approximately 40 full-armed parachutists with regard to the currently founding regiment.

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Picture: CASA C-295M on service of the Czech Armed Forces |  Jan Kouba, army.cz

The Army needs really powerful, spacious, high-capacity aircraft, which will enable us to be independent. Otherwise we should rely on hired services from private forwarders or Alliance partners. Is it a sustainable solution? After all, there are more problems with transportation as such; let's remember, for example, the Army day which took place in the Flora in Prague. To transport a tank from Přaslavice, it was necessary to use services of a private company; although there is a lot of other solutions on the market...

 Author: Martin Šiška