Iraq to buy 28 Czech L-159 fighter jets
for $1 billion
Czech Republic's Prime Minister Petr Necas, right,
shake hands with his Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki,
left, after their press conference in Prague, Czech
Republic, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. Photo: AP
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October 12, 2012
Czech Republic Agrees to Sell 28 Military Jets L-159
to Iraq. Photo: CTK
Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra (R) and Iraqi
Defense Minister Saadun Dulajmi in press conference
in Prague 12th October. Iraq agrees to buy 24
fighters L-159 for about one billion dollars (19.2
billion CZK) from the Czech Republic. Photo: CTK
PRAGUE, — The Czech Republic will deliver 28
L-159 fighter jets to Iraq and Czech experts will
participate in the training of Iraqi pilots, Czech
Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra said after meeting
his Iraqi counterpart Sadun al-Dulaymi Friday.
The contract for the Czech-made aircraft is worth
about one billion U.S. dollars. The training is to
start as soon as possible, Vondra said.
The deal comes as a part of Iraqi Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki's program to rebuild the country's
air force and control its vulnerable airspace.
The purchase of Czech L159 jets came as Maliki faces
pressure from Washington to prevent Iran
transporting arms through Iraqi airspace to help
Tehran's ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in
his battle to end a 19-month-old uprising.
Four of the two-seat aircraft will be fighter planes
owned by the Czech military and the remaining 24
will be new ones.
Vondra thus confirmed the information that Reuters
news agency released Friday,www.ekurd.net
citing a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The spokesman told Reuters that Iraq will receive
the four old L-159s for free.
Iraq has no real air force since the 2003 U.S.-led
invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, and Baghdad
says it will not be able to defend its airspace
"We have a deal to buy 24 L159 combat and training
aircraft from the Czech Republic. Four of them will
be given for free and will be handed over within
seven months," Ali al-Moussawi, Maliki's media
advisor, told Reuters by telephone from Prague.
L159s are sub-sonic planes used for training or as
light combat planes. The Czech Republic has not been
able to sell the jets beyond the Czech army so the
Iraqi deal would be a huge success for its arms
Maliki is visiting the Czech Republic as well. He
arrived in Prague on Thursday.
The first of the four Czech military´s jets will be
transferred to Iraq seven months after the contract
takes effect, Vondra said.
The Czech producer Aero Vodochody will start
delivering the new aircraft to Iraq in approximately
The negotiations on the purchase lasted more than a
After the details of the contract are agreed on by
experts from the two countries, the contract will be
signed, Vondra said.
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