Crown witness and Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) pilot Karel Danhel has testified before a Czech court that the selection of the EADS CASA (now Airbus Defence and Space) C295M tactical transport aircraft by the Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2009 was a flawed procurement.
Danhel testified in Czech court on 19 December on behalf of prosecutors who have charged former defence minister Vlasta Parkanova and former MoD procurement section director Jiri Stanek with criminal negligence over the CZK3.5 billion (USD165 million) procurement of four C295Ms tactical transport aircraft for the ACR in 2009.
Prosecutors launched criminal proceedings against Parkanova and Stanek for their signing of the C295M contract, which has allegedly cost Czech taxpayers CZK819 million in cost overruns and hidden procurement fees.
“The CASA [C295] failed to meet key criteria concerning operational range and payload requirements. In terms of fuel consumption and operating costs, it ranked first. If you were to fly the aircraft without payload or to Brussels and back it would be fine,” Danhel testified on 19 December. He said the aircraft’s performance was “one-third lower” than that of the Alenia C-27J Spartan, which led in the MoD procurement process.
During the MoD’s 2009 tactical transport tender Danhel was responsible for processing data for five competing aircraft bids for the ACR General Staff. He stated that five aircraft types were downselected by the MoD/ACR into the final round of the selection process and that the C295M ranked third to fourth overall. At the time the MoD eliminated four bids and chose the C295M as the winner.
“I have never heard of a single occasion when the CASA was sent on missions to Afghanistan, which was the key priority for its selection,” Danhel informed the court.
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