Czech Air Force receives first Airbus C-295MW airlifter

Czech Army receives Airbus C295MW
First Airbus C-295MW transport aircraft for the Czech Air Force on display at the Airbus production facility in Seville, Spain

On May 19, the first of two new Airbus C295MW military transport aircraft (tail number 0481, serial number 172) landed at Prague-Kbely Airport, Czech Republic, according to the Czech Ministry of Defense. The aircraft was formally accepted on May 7 by the Czech Air Force Commander, General Petr Mikulenka, at the Airbus Defense and Space SA production plant in Seville, Spain.

"The modernization of our tactical and transport fleet is the key to fulfilling the current and future tasks of the Czech army. Today, the Air Force continues to modernize its fleet after last year's disarmament of two JAK-40 aircraft. The two CASA aircraft, which will strengthen the capabilities of the 24th airbase, thus fit fully into the army's modernization plans, "Mikulenka said.

The new aircraft will join the current fleet of four C-295s which will soon be modernized by Airbus (the first aircraft is already undergoing modernization in Seville). According to the Czech Air Force, all six aircraft will have the same avionics configuration by the end of next year.

"The new CASAs mainly represent an increase in transport capacity for us. They will complement our fleet of four aircraft, which have been the backbone of the Air Force's transport fleet since 2010," said Colonel Martin Nezbeda, commander of the 24th air transport base.

To date, the type has flown more than 17,000 flight hours with the Czech Air Force, carrying out air transport missions around the world with a high level of operational reliability.

The new C-295MWs feature winglets, state-of-the-art communications, navigation and control systems, including satellite and data links.

"The winglets reduce the induced drag of aircraft by 6%, thereby reducing fuel consumption, improving performance and increasing the range of the aircraft," said Lieutenant Colonel Ondřej Henžlík, head of the project team for the armaments and acquisitions department of the Ministry of Defense.

The contract between the Czech Ministry of Defense and Airbus was finalized on December 16, 2019. For both aircraft in the latest C-295MW variant, full operational equipment, spare parts, the Czech Ministry of Defense will pay CZK 1.94 billion (about 93 million dollars). Delivery of the second aircraft is scheduled for the end of June 2021.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source, Images: Czech Air Force

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