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Czechs retire Russian-built helicopters

The Czech Republic has now retired the last of its Russian-built Mi-24 (pictured) and Mi-8 helicopters, which it is replacing with US-built AH-1Z and UH-1Y platforms. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The Czech Republic officially retired the last of its Russian-built helicopters on 15 October.

A farewell ceremony at the 22nd Helicopter Base at Náměšť nad Oslavou saw the Army of the Czech Republic (Armáda České republiky: AČR) say goodbye to the last of its Mil Mi-24 ‘Hind' and Mil Mi-8 ‘Hip' rotorcraft.

According to Janes World Air Forces, the AČR had approximately 11 Mi-24 and 20 Mi-8 helicopters in its inventory at the time of their retirement (an undisclosed quantity of each type had been transferred to Ukraine over recent months). It is likely that these now retired airframes will also be transferred to Ukraine.

The retirement of the Russian-built helicopters coincided with the arrival of the first batches of new Bell AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters from the United States, deliveries of which began in July. To date, three AH-1Z and two UH-1Y helicopters have been delivered to the Czech Republic, with the AČR to operate 10 helicopters of each type once deliveries are complete.

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