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Two Czech Gripen fighters and an L-159 ALCA light combat aircraft during Ample Strike 2017

The Czech Republic led exercise Ample Strike had fighters logging in 600 flight hours and conducting hundreds of missions this year.

"We began these types of exercises 15 years ago. In 2002, we had eight aircraft and only one Czech team of forward air controllers cooperating with British teams. Now, we have 39 aircraft from 18 countries comprising more than 1,200 soldiers taking part," said the Director of the exercise, Colonel Zdenek Bauer, when addressing the media before the exercise.

The Czech Republic has hosted the exercise for four consecutive years now. The exercise is planned around developing and improving joint coordination of air and ground forces

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Czech Armed Forces website

Visitor at the Slovak International Air Festival (SIAF) watched the performance of  the top Czech Air Force display pilot, Captain Ivo Kardoš this year.​ The aerial display was the highlight of the festival. 

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"Gripen is the best choice for the Czech Republic," says Czech display pilot Captain Ivo Kardoše. In an interview with a local publication, he talks about his experience of flying at a recent airshow in Hradec Kralove.

Kardoše says that if one has to compare the cost and performance, Gripen is the best aircraft. It is not expensive to operate and does the same job as other advanced fighters.

About his performance at the Hradec air show, he says that the kind of demonstration a display pilot chooses for an airshow depends a lot on the weather. In Hradec, weather posed a few challenges but vertical maneuvers were still possible, so he chose a longer set. Also, a display pilot tries to demonstrate a combination of the aircraft features. The lowest altitude at which a non-maneuvering flight can be conducted is about 2km above ground. “For safety reasons, we cannot demonstrate the maximum capabilities of an aircraft at airshows," he says.  

On being asked what he likes more, performing at airshows or participating in foreign missions, Kardoše says both are great experiences. 

“It's hard to compare, everybody has their own preferences though. It was nice in Iceland, but the air shows have their magic too. A pilot just wants to fly,” he says.

Read the full story here.

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NATO aviation training exercise, Ample Strike 2017, that started last week, ends today.

The annual multinational exercise offers the perfect platform for air and ground forces to work together and be better prepared for joint missions when required. It focused on advanced air and land integration training, as well as improving interoperability between NATO allies and partner nations.

"It goes without saying that the host country has to make the most of the exercise. Almost half of all flights were conducted by Czech pilots of L-39 Albatros, L-159 ALCA, Mi-24/35, Mi-171Š helicopters, and Gripen," says Czech Colonel Zdeněk Bauer.

The exercises also included air-to-air refueling of Gripen with the US tank KC-13.

Besides the Czech Republic, participating air forces included that of Denmark, Croatia, the USA, Hungary, and Finland.

gripen_siaf2017.jpegCzech Air Force airmen and their Gripen aircraft attended NATO Tiger Meet 2017 in Landivisiau, France. They were placed second in the concours d’Elegance for the best camouflage with Gripen in the “Tiger design.​

Visitors to the Slovak International Air Festival (SIAF) on August 26-27 in Slovakia can expect an exciting program. The highlight of the show will be a flight demonstration of the Gripen supersonic jet fighter by the top Czech Air Force display pilot, Captain Ivo Kardoš.

Captain Kardoš recently won one of the most prestigious international display awards. He beat an international competition at one of the world's largest air shows, the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Britain. Kardoš beat more than 60 pilots – which is quite an achievement given that he became a display pilot only at the beginning of this year. He also demonstrated his excellent flying skills at another air show - RNAS Yeovilton, Britain, where he won an award for his performance again.

We asked a few questions to Captain Ivo Kardoš.

What is the main role of a display pilot?

The main role of a display pilot is to represent the Air Force and to demonstrate his flying skills as well as the capabilities of the aircraft.

Can any Gripen pilot become a display pilot? Or does he need to fulfill certain criteria and undergo special training?

The display pilot is selected from the Gripen squadron pilots. ...

Czech International Air Fest (CIAF), the largest airshow in the Czech Republic, will be held on 2nd and 3rd September and Gripen will be one of the main attractions to the event.

The video shows Czech Gripen's performance at CIAF 2016.

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The Czech Air Force Gripen fighters now have air-to-ground capabilities, reports Ceskatelevize.cz.

With the new capabilities, the Czech Gripen will be able to do more than air defence missions. They will be able to perform air-to-ground strikes and engage with ground troops as well. The new weapons will not only increase the capabilities of the Czech Air Force but also prepare Gripen fighters for advanced NATO missions.

As a part of this upgrade, Czech fighters have been integrated with laser bombs and related software updates. According to the Ceskatelevize report, laser beams are very accurate and attacks can be made between five and twenty miles of height. 

"We will have to learn how to use the full range of ammunition that will be provided for Gripen," said Czech Tactical Air Force Commander Jan Ďucha.

Read the full post here.

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Czech display pilot Captain Ivo Kardoše from the 211 Squadron of the 21st Tactical Air Force Base Čáslav, has won awards for his performances at airshows like Yeovilton and Fairford.

At the Yeovilton Air Day 2017, which was held on 8 July, about 40,000 visitors got the opportunity to watch the Czech pilot in the air. After a week, Kardoše performed at the RIAT 2017, one of the world's largest airshows. 

The weather was not very good for a flying display, so Kardoše had to make some last minute changes. "I had to choose a variant of the demonstration with lower flight levels and adapt it to the current meteorological situation," he says. Despite the challenges, the Czech test pilot won the award for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant.

Read the full storyhere.

Image Courtesy: Afbcaslav.cz​

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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 2017. The performance was judged to be a "consistently well flown and accurate fast jet demonstration" during the airshow.

"It was a wonderful, amazing airshow," says Kardoš. "It was the best one I've ever been to. Of course, it's a great honour to win the prize and to represent Gripen and Saab." 

RIAT is one of the largest military airshows in the world. Held at RAF Fairford in Gloucestshoire every year, the airshow gets a participation of fast jets, giant transporters, historic aircraft etc. from around the world.

RIAT 2017 was held between 14 and 17 July.

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It is 10:25 in the morning at Čáslav air base and the sunrays are only just beginning to stream through the morning fog. There is no wind, all one can hear is the whistling sound of two Gripen fighters leaving their hangar. Soon, the whistle turns into a roar as the fighters ascend towards the sky. This is how a typical morning at the air base looks like.

The Czech Republic has been using Gripen system for over ten years to protect its airspace. The country also uses the fighters for NATO missions in countries like Iceland.

"The fighters are on constant standby to identify, escort, and if necessary, fight invasion of Czech airspace. Additionally, they also provide support to civil aviation, including escorting and providing guided landing of civilian aircraft, in case of technical failure or bad weather conditions,” says Jan Ducha, Ground Personnel commanding officer of the Czech Air Force.

Recounting his experience at this year's NATO Tiger Meet exercise in Saragosa, Spain, Jan says that Gripen is very easy to use and requires less staff as compared to other similar aircraft. Other countries participating with other aircraft systems brought up to 25 people per aircraft. To fly a Gripen, one needs only one pilot, one engineer and a mechanic (per aircraft), Jan adds. 

"What use is an aircraft of, if it is in a hangar, waiting for spare parts or if you need so much staff to attend to it ...

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