The Czech Air Force personnel have begun training on Bell UH-1Y Venom multirole utility and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters ahead of the commencement of deliveries in 2023. Since July, a group of pilots and onboard technicians from the 22nd Helicopter Air Force Base in Náaeste nad Oslavou have been training at the US Marine Corps Base Pendleton. In September, the initial theoretical training was replaced by the first practical flights. The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that air and ground crews from the Czech Air Force had begun training on the UH-1Y Venom utility and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter. The Czech Air Force will acquire a total of 20 helicopters: ten UH-1Y Venom multirole utility helicopters, and ten AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.
The Czech Air Force is currently equipped with eight Mi-35/24V attack helicopters that have in service with the Czech Armed Forces since 2003. The hardware is morally and physically obsolete and was used by the Soviets as early as during the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The progressively decommissioned Mi-24 helicopters can, if needed, be used as a source of spare parts for Mi-171Sh helicopters, or they can be alternatively put up for sale. The Czech Armed Forces will obtain modern machines fit for reduce its dependence on Russia. The Czech Armed Forces will also receive relevant armament along with the new American helicopters: Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
Since July, two groups of pilots and technicians from Nám?š? nad Oslavou have been retraining in the USA for the new types of helicopters. Bell’s mobile training team will be training local staff in the Czech Republic over the course of two years, before they master the helicopters’ operation and maintenance system. The Czech defence industry’s participation will amount to one third of the project’s value, and will include state enterprises LOM Praha and VTÚ (Military Technical Institute), as well as Ray Service and VR Group. LOM Praha will provide the life cycle support of the helicopters which will take place in a new H1 facility. A new simulation centre will be built in Namest nad Oslavou for the training of ground and flight personnel for the new machines.
The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, designed and produced by the American aerospace manufacturer Bell Helicopter. Being one of the latest members of the prolific Bell Huey family, it is also called “Zulu Cobra”, based on the military phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter. The Bell UH-1Y Venom (also called Super Huey) is a twin-engine, medium-sized utility helicopter built by Bell Helicopter under the H-1 upgrade program of the United States Marine Corps. One of the latest members of the numerous Huey family, the UH-1Y is also called “Yankee”, based on the NATO phonetic alphabet pronunciation of its variant letter.