US-donated Helicopters May Arrive in The Czech Republic by End of 2023

Photo: LOM Praha /

Prague , Aug 20 (CTK) – The first military helicopters being donated by the United States to the Czech army may arrive in the Czech Republic by the end of 2023. The helicopters are currently located in Hawaii, Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova told journalists on Friday.

Czech technicians are leaving for the USA now to find out what adjustments need to be made to the helicopters. The costs of their overhaul are therefore not clear for now, Cernochova said.

Cernochova (ODS) announced the Czech-U.S. agreement on Thursday. The US will give eight helicopters to the Czech Republic, of which six are for combat and two for transport.

A couple of years ago, the Czech Republic ordered a supply of 12 Viper and Venom helicopters from the US, produced by Bell and worth CZK 14.6 billion.

Together with the donated ones, the Czech military will have 20 U.S.-made helicopters.

“These helicopters are in Hawaii now. Of course, we must assess them in terms of technology and say what we want to be installed in them and what, on the contrary, we will not need with regard to the tasks they should fulfil in the Czech Republic,” said Cernochova.

Czech technicians will determine in the US what adjustments to the helicopters are required and whether they would be made in the Czech Republic or in the US. “Our goal is that the helicopters undergo further maintenance at LOM Prague,” Cernochova said.

In six months it will be clear when the donated helicopters will be supplied to the Czech Republic. Some of them are to arrive by the end of 2023, she said.

They will be used helicopters but still fully operational. “It will be a gift, we will only pay for repairs, for an overhaul according to our requirements, for their transport to the Czech Republic and other connected costs that cannot be accurately defined for now, but the sum is incomparably [lower] than the price of new helicopters would be,” said Cernochova, quoted in military server

The Czech Republic has bought eight UH-1Y Venom multipurpose helicopters and four AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters, produced by Bell, from the US. The military should get the first machines next year. They will replace the Mi-35/24 Russian-made helicopters.

Experts previously said the number of the helicopters purchased under Cernochova’s predecessor in the ministerial post, Lubomir Metnar (ANO), was too low, and that the ministry would have to buy purchase more.

The Defence Ministry announced on its website today that the Czech Republic’s current military equipment includes eight combat helicopters Mi-35/24V that have been serving since 2003.

“This is a morally and physically outdated equipment which the Soviets used as long ago as the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s,” the ministry said, adding that it has been gradually discarding the machines.

According to Petr Cepelka, the head of the Defence Ministry’s section of forces development, the discarded helicopters may be used as a source of spare parts for other Russian-made Mi-171S helicopters, or may be sold.

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