Uh-1 Venom for the Czech Army. Yes or no?
ACR equipment has become out-of-date. This is a pure fact. Although at present it seems that better times are coming. New BVP guns are planned, the motor pool will be renewed, and substitution of helicopters is a piece of good news for the aviation. Is betting on helicopters from the U.S. the right step?
Let’s not lie to ourselves. A number of fud pilots will not hear a word against the 171s and 24s . The quite reliable machines have been serving in the army for decades and have undergone more or less serious modernization, such as GPS systems installation, IFF transponder, standby artificial horizon and others. Nevertheless, the service of such equipment is getting more and more difficult despite the efforts of the state company LOM Praha s.p. We simply put all our eggs in one basket, with the origin in Russia.
But there is the other side of the coin, too. The purchase of UH-1 Venom helicopters approved by the US Government, sufficient service and workshop availability, systems compliant with modern NATO standards. Avionics modernization can only consist in firmware update, on top of that there is a wide range of available arsenal with munition identical to the allies.
Ivolga still flying
An example demonstrating the present drawbacks of the aviation equipment of the ACR: The Mi-8 (ex Mi-9 Ivolga) with the fuselage number 0001 which was discarded two years ago, returns to service again.
Such system needs to be changed forever, nevertheless we can imagine a significant change consisting in the purchase of the UH-1/AH-1Z Viper and UH-60 Black Hawk machines. These steps will enable us to keep the air force compliant with NATO standards.
Picture: Already a legend: the multipurpose helicopter UH-60 Black Hawk. Its only operator outside the U.S. is the CSG holding. The machine is a part of the SLOVAK TRAINING ACADEMY (STA) training centre in Košice. | CSG