Czech govt nods to redundant combat planes´ sale to U.S. firm

Bitevníky L-159 (na archivním snímku z 23. listopadu 2011).

published: 02.01.2014, 13:59 | updated: 02.01.2014 14:09:45

Prague - The outgoing Czech government today approved the proposal to sell 28 redundant L-159 combat planes to the U.S. Draken International firm, Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek has told journalists after a government meeting.

The firm wants to buy 24 operable planes and four for spare parts.

The contract price will be between 434 and 516 million crowns, depending on the equipment of individual aircraft, Picek said previously.

The Czech military has 72 L-159 planes for which it paid 51 billion crowns years ago, but the pilots only need about a third of them. A total of 36 planes have been conserved.

Picek said the mothballing of the planes cost the Czech military 260 million crowns in 2006-2013.

The money that would be saved thanks to the planned sale of the L-159s would be invested in the development of the air forces, Picek said.

The Defence Ministry, owner of the L-159s, will sell the planes through their producer, Aero Vodochody. This method is based on Czech legislation under which a Czech mediator is needed for sales of military equipment abroad, Deputy Defence Minister Daniel Kostoval said.

The contract is to be signed in January and the first supply to the United States could be made in March.

The putting of the planes into full operation before sending them to the USA will cost millions of crowns that Aero Vodochody will cover. Aero Vodochody said it would not receive any commission for it, however, the U.S. firm would probably pay for it to Aero.

The Defence Ministry has been trying to sell the redundant L-159s for many years. Last year, it declared a public tender for the sale of eight of the planes, but no L-159 was sold because the bidders offered to pay too low prices.

($1=19.909 crowns)


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