Iraq plans to buy 40 Mi-24 helicopters from Czech Republic

22 June 2014 (Last Updated June 22nd, 2014 18:30)

The Iraqi Government is reportedly in talks with Czech Republic to acquire Russian-built Mi-24 attack helicopters.

Czech Mi-24

The Iraqi Government is reportedly in talks with Czech Republic to acquire Russian-built Mi-24 attack helicopters.

According to media reports, the Iraqi Government has expressed interest in buying 40 Mi-24 helicopters, in addition to 12 L-159 light combat aircraft.

Czech Defence Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek told the Associated Press that the Czech Air Force's inventory currently includes seven spare Mi-24 helicopters, which could be sold to Iraq.

Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky was quoted by Czech News Agency as saying that the Iraqi demand could be addressed by the state-owned LOM Praha, if it decides to use the seven Mi-24s that it bought from the military.

The defence minister said that LOM may also purchase Mi-24s from elsewhere and ready them for Iraq but added that the likely supply of another several dozen helicopters is 'excessive optimism'.

"The Czech Air Force's inventory currently includes seven spare Mi-24 helicopters, which could be sold to Iraq."

"On the one hand, we welcome [Iraq's] interest, we take it seriously. On the other hand, the situation in Iraq is so turbulent that further negotiations will be necessary," Stropnicky said.

On L-159 negotiations, the minister said that the two countries are negotiating the price but the ongoing crisis has complicated the discussions.

"Nevertheless, a chance that the deal will be completed still exists. The need [on Baghdad's part] persists," Stropnicky added.

If a contract is signed, Aero Vodochody will supply 12 redundant L-159 subsonic fighters, along with equipment such as machine guns and ammunition to Iraq.

Manufactured by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, the Mi-24 is a Soviet-era large gunship and attack helicopter. It is used for direct air support, antitank, armed escort and air-to-air combat missions.


Image: A Czech Air Force Mi-24 Hind helicopter during CIAF 2007. Photo: courtesy of Voytek S.

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