Czech Republic may sell combat jets to Iraq

April 19th, 2011 - 11:02 am ICT by IANS  

Warsaw, April 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Czech Republic is planning to offer Iraq a number of light attack aircraft and help Baghdad to modernise its helicopter fleet, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas will visit Iraq May 23-24 to promote closer economic cooperation with Baghdad and sign an agreement on mutual protection of investments.

“The Czech Republic will offer Iraq L-159 combat aircraft, and we are also ready to take part in the upgrading of Iraqi helicopters,” Schwarzenberg said Monday after a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in Prague.

The single-seat L-159 ALCA is a light multi-role combat aircraft designed for a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.

The jet was developed in the late 1990s by Aero Vodochody on the basis of the airframe design and aerodynamic configuration of the L39 Albatros and L59 family of combat trainers.

The aircraft is equipped with an advanced multi-mode radar for all-weather, day-and-night missions and can carry a wide range of NATO-standard payloads including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and laser guided bombs.

The Czech defence ministry announced in January that it planned to sell 36 L-159 ALCAs that the Czech military does not need.

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