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The Czechs buy 4 Casa C295 from Eads

(B2) The Czech Republic could acquire 4 Casa C-295 M planes from the European manufacturer EADS to replace its old Antonov An26 transport planes. Czech Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova submitted this project for approval to the (resigning) government. The planes should be delivered between 2009 and 2011. The objective, according to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, Andrei Cirtek, is to “strengthen air autonomy during humanitarian missions or evacuations of foreign citizens”And“capacity for action of Czech units in operations abroad".

A purchase which also demonstrates – apart from the financial reasons – that the Czechs have a certain “European pragmatism”, in their purchases and military equipment, undoubtedly much more assertive than their political option, which can be described as “ very Atlanticist”.

According to EADS, in fact, the C-295 can take on a large number of missions assigned to heavier transport aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules, for a much lower cost (a gain of more than a third per flight hour according to the constructor). Since the start of its marketing in 2001, 66 units have been sold – according to EADS – to nine operators based in Spain, Poland, Jordan, Algeria, Brazil, Portugal, Finland and Chile. 44 are already operational. Rather than the C-130, its real competitor is the C27J from the American-Italian consortium Lockeed – Alenia. A C-295 in service with the Polish army crashed in January 2008 upon landing at Miroslawiec airport (northwest Poland), killing 20 people.

(update) Note that the ousted competitor Alenia, which thus sees a contract worth around 1 million Czech crowns slip away from it, could file a complaint in Brussels with the competition authority. The signing of the contract a few days before the Minister's departure is, in fact, criticized in certain circles in Prague.

(photo: EADS)


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).