The Czech Defence Ministry signed a contract for the purchase of two CASA C-295MW tactical military transport aircraft for 1.94 billion crowns and a contract on a modernisation of the four CASAs, which the Czech Air Forces have been using since 2010, for 0.36 billion crowns today.
The contracts were signed by Filip Riha, the deputy minister in charge of armament and acquisitions, and Alberto Gutierrez, the head of Military Aircraft section of the Spanish producer of the CASAs, the Airbus Defence and Space company. The price of the contracts does not include the value-added tax.
The price of the purchase of the two-engine turbo-propelled planes of is lower than expected. The ministry previously announced that the two aircraft would cost 2.29 billion crowns. Riha said the ministry managed to cut the price in connection with the faster negotiations.
The purchase of new CASAs will include the acquisition of spare parts, and measurement as well as ground equipment. The basic version of the planes is to be cheaper than in 2009, when the ministry bought its current four CASAs.
The then purchase deal for for more than 3.5 billion crowns was signed by the second government of Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) in April 2009, while ruling in resignation after being toppled by parliament's vote of no confidence. The circumstances of the purchase have been subject to court proceedings since.
The Czech military has for long said it needs two new transport planes as a replacement for its outdated Soviet-made Yak-40s and also due to soldiers' growing requirements. CASAs have been used for training, transport of troops to foreign missions, and one has been serving in the multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission in the Sinai Peninsula.
The Czech Air Forces four CASAs will receive new communication equipment and avionics. The ministry will pay 360 million for it. It originally expected to pay some 200 million for the new equipment.