published: 12.10.2012, 14:35 | updated: 12.10.2012 14:37:19
Prague - The Czech Republic will deliver 28 L-159 fighter jets to Iraq and Czech experts will participate in the training of Iraqi pilots, Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra said after meeting his Iraqi counterpart Sadun al-Dulaymi today.
The contract for the Czech-made aircraft is worth about one billion U.S. dollars.
The training is to start as soon as possible, Vondra said.
Four of the two-seat aircraft will be fighter planes owned by the Czech military and the remaining 24 will be new ones.
Vondra thus confirmed the information that Reuters news agency released today, citing a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The spokesman told Reuters that Iraq will receive the four old L-159s for free.
Maliki is visiting the Czech Republic as well. He arrived in Prague on Thursday.
The first of the four Czech military´s jets will be transferred to Iraq seven months after the contract takes effect, Vondra said.
The Czech producer Aero Vodochody will start delivering the new aircraft to Iraq in approximately two years.
The negotiations on the purchase lasted more than a year.
After the details of the contract are agreed on by experts from the two countries, the contract will be signed, Vondra said.
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