Open Day in Caslav attracts thousands of military fans

Autor: Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

Every two years, the 21st Tactical Air Force Base at Caslav holds an Open Day to present the air and ground equipment of the Czech Armed Forces, and this year it opened its gates again to the public on 20th May. This traditional air show of dynamic and static displays continues to attract thousands of military and aviation enthusiasts.

Examining the aircraft
Examining the aircraft

There was plenty to satisfy the thousands of fans. From the static and dynamic demonstrations of the fully equipped supersonic SAAB 39 Gripen fighter aircraft, the subsonic L-159 ALCA attack jets, and helicopters to a demonstration of the legendary Soviet-made MiG-15 fighter, a historical piece once regularly operated by the Czechoslovak Air Force.

The air show also included aircraft flown by acrobatic pilots from the partner and allied air forces such as Switzerland and Belgium, with the Czech acrobatic teams in the F-5E Tiger II and F-16 aircraft, and the Augusta A-109 helicopters, all showcasing their skills and expertise.

The Open Day provided an opportunity for fans to admire the dozens of ground combat and transport vehicles which included the Pandur carriers, the T-72M4 CZ tanks, various transport vehicles and decontamination systems for people, equipment and vehicles.

“The Czech military hinges above all on its committed and dedicated professional soldiers who are respected by partners worldwide. Fighter pilots, as well as combat aircraft pilots and air and ground personnel, have repeatedly demonstrated their professionalism and skill in protecting and defending our country’s airspace. During our regular missions, we also protect the airspace of the Baltic States and Iceland. Our instructors share too their experience and knowledge with their Iraqi colleagues in, for example, the operation and maintenance of the L-159 aircraft, as well as contributing significantly in the fight against the Islamic State,” said Minister Stropnicky during his speech.

The event commemorated the 60th anniversary of the beginning of operations by the original 22nd Fighter Regiment at Caslav airport. The public were also able to inspect the exhibition stands of the University of Defence displaying recruitment procedures and programmes, along with Czech army activities designed to help Czech citizens to defend themselves and their territory in the event of a crisis.

“We are trying to bring the army closer to the people, and show them that the work we do benefits all of us,” said Colonel Petr Tomanek, Commander of the Air Base.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

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May 26, 2017