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The annual Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton International Air Day at Somerset, England​, is back. Scheduled to be held on 7th July 2018, it will feature a spectacular five-hour flying display, besides an array of ground attractions, from engineering fairs to the latest defence technology exhibitions, simulators, fairground rides and helicopter pleasure flights. 

After last year’s remarkable performance, the Czech Air Force has confirmed their participation at the event for this year as well. They will return with the JAS 39C Gripen that won the title of ‘Best Fixed Wing Display’ last year.  

The RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day is expected to have up to 40,000 visitors. The event will include demonstration of the Maritime Capability and Air Power of not only the Royal Navy, but also the British Army and the Royal Air Force, which are celebrating their centenary year. The British Armed Forces’ NATO and European allies will participate too. The Air Day will have both static and flying displays from some of the world’s most skilled pilots and their aircrafts. 

Read the full story here.

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​The 21st Tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav will host a multinational exercise 'Sky Avenger' between 18 and 29 June this year.

The Czech Air Force has confirmed the participation of Gripen and L-159 ALCA planes from the Čáslav base. Six F-16s will also participate in the exercise.

Sky Avenger is a joint exercise based on Czech Air Force's long-term cooperation with the Air National Guards of Nebraska and Texas. 

“In addition to dogfighting and cooperation with forward air controllers, the exercise will also focus on composite air missions,” discloses Major Tomáš Merta, Deputy Director of the exercise.

Read the full story here.

RIAT2017_Gripen1.jpgThe Czech Air Force has confirmed the participation of a Gripen and an L-159 Advanced Light Combat Aircraft (ALCA) at RIAT 2018.

This time, RIAT will also celebrate the completion of a 100 years by the Royal Air Force. Last year, Captain Ivo Kardoš from the 211th Tactical Squadron at Čáslav Air base won the award for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant at RIAT.

The first Air Tattoo was held in the year 1971 with a participation of about a hundred aircraft. Deemed as one of the world's greatest airshow now, RIAT now attracts participation from across the globe.  About 150, 000 to 160, 000 visitors attend the show every year. 

About RIAT, Formula one racing driver Jensen Button once said, "All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air."

The flying display will take place between 13 and 15 July 2018.

Read the full story here​.


Czech mate.

Users since 2005, the Czech Air Force will receive the latest capability enhancement during 2018.

Photo: Jörgen Nilsson

211th tactical squadron at the Caslav Air Base got Lieutenant Colonel Radoslav Matula as its new commander this year.

czech commander_150118.jpgLieutenant Colonel Matula taking over as the commander of the 211th tactical squadron.

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The ceremonial handover was held on 11 January at the 21st tactical air base. During the handover, Matula accepted the ceremonial sword from the hands of the commander of the base, Colonel Petr Tománek.

“I would like to thank Lieutenant Colonel Jaroslav Tomaňa for his guidance,” he said. “Apart from the continuous protection of the Czech airspace, we will also participate in international exercises like NATO Tiger Meet, Sky Avenger, Ample Strike, and Central Hawk. The preparation and planning for Baltic States’ Airspace protection mission will also start this year,” he added.

Czech Republic’s Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová, who recently assumed office, visited the 21st Tactical Air Force base in Čáslav on December 22, reports She was accompanied by Chief of Staff of Army, General Josef Bečvár and Air Force Commander, General Major Jaromír Šebesta.

During the visit, the minister surveyed the activities at the air base, the technology and the NATO integrated air and missile defence systems. She met with the pilots and crew of the control and operation centre, and discussed in detail the readiness of the Gripen fighters. The minister observed the entire process; from the initial emergency signal to the final take-off of two Gripen aircraft.

The Defence Minister remarked at the end of her visit, “I knew our airspace was well secured, but I'm sure today!”

Read full story here

Image Courtesy: Czech Armed Forces

gripen user
All Gripen operating countries participated at the annual Gripen conference in Prague recently which focused on knowledge sharing on how to effectively use all the features of the fighter.

The topics discussed usually include operational issues and maintenance, and logistics and safety issues in the use of the Gripen. Gripen User's Conference is also an event wherein Saab can listen to feedback by Gripen users and share information of new upgrade options.

The meeting was divided into three working groups. The first group was all about the acquisition, development and operational use of the Gripen system. The second group focused on things like flight security and daily operation and the third group comprised of Gripen maintenance specialists.

The Czech Air Force participated in the Gripen's User's Group for the first time in the year 2007. "It can be said that during the first few years of our Gripen operations, we drew mainly from the knowledge of our colleagues. And we are now in a position where we can pass on a number of experiences to new members," said the Czech Air Force Commander, Major General  Jaromír Šebesta.

Read the full story here.

The Czech Gripen fleet has been over a decade in service. The outstanding performance of the system, as demonstrated during NATO exercises and deployments, has increased interest from other Central European countries.

On a sunny afternoon at the Czech Republic’s Čáslav military air base, Captain Jan Ducha stands beside the runway awaiting the return of one of the 14 Saab Gripen that he swears he loves and nurtures like his own children.

 “Beautiful, no?” smiles the commander of Čáslav’s Maintenance Operational Centre, as the Gripen’s grey delta wing and canard silhouette finally materialise against the green of the surrounding countryside. “We’ve had these planes for over a decade now, but watching them come in still gives me pleasure.”

 In June 2004 the Czech and the Swedish government signed a 10-year, leasing agreement for 12 single-seat Gripen C and two twin-seat Gripen D. The first flight took place less than a year later, in April 2005.

 “Apart from the Swedes themselves, the Czech air force was the first to fly the Gripen,” notes Lieutenant Colonel Jaroslav Míka, Commander of Čáslav’s 211 Squadron. “It was we Czechs who proved that the Gripen was fully NATO-compatible.”

Read the full story here.


The best players of the Gripen Fighter Challenge game, who competed against each other at SIAF 2017, spent one entire day with Czech Gripen pilots at the 21st tactical Air Force Base in Čáslav.

Slovak International Air Festival (SIAF) 2017 took place during the last weekend of August at Sliač airport in Slovakia. One of the biggest attractions of the whole event was the Saab Experience Hangar. Apart from getting to know about a series of products by Saab, the winners could test their abilities in the Gripen Fighter Challenge game as well. 

The reward for the top five players in the game was an excursion to the Air Force Base in Čáslav which happened on Tuesday, 31 October. 

When the winners reached the Air Base, there was a short introduction to welcome them, followed by which they were familiarised with the basic tasks at the Air Base. 

The winners were then taken for a tour of the local museum of aviation history. After that, the excursion continued with a visit to the airport’s biological protection station where the winners, thanks to an interesting lecture, learned about the predators that protect the runways and the airport surroundings from not only birds but wild animals as well. 

After a hearty lunch in the military canteen, the winners were taken to a point next to the runway where they watched the last pre-flight preparations of five Gripen aircraft. After the pilots took off to their regular missions, the winners went to the Gripen hangar, ...

​Czech Gripen participated in NATO's annual Steadfast Noon exercise earlier this month. The exercise was held at two locations - Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium and Buchel Air Base in Germany.​

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