During her visit to the 22nd Helicopter Base in Namest nad Oslavou on 9th April, Minister of Defence Karla Slechtova provided a status update on the forthcoming purchase of 12 multipurpose helicopters at a meeting with base commanders.
The Commander of the Base, Colonel Petr Cepelka, showed the Minister around the base where the Mil Mi-171S transport and the Mil Mi-24/35 combat helicopters are located and operated. During the guided tour, Minister Slechtova expressed an interest in looking over various design aspects of the helicopters, such as the carrying capacity of the helicopters, the size and function of the cockpit, and weight of the weapons systems.
Later, in a meeting with the aviators, discussions were focussed on the helicopters currently in operation; their capabilities and the range of duties performed by the base personnel.
"The Namest Base is of vital importance, not only to our military, but also for the Czech Integrated Rescue System and to our partners in NATO. I am delighted to have personally spoken with each of the pilots and technicians and to have examined the helicopters," said Minister Slechtova.
"The Ministry of Defence has decided to place an order for 12 new multipurpose helicopters. However, we will not be following the normal procedure in choosing a supplier. We will take advantage of an exception clause in the law relating to public tenders by making inquiries directly to two or three potential contractors. We will proceed with the documentation, and make our announcement this summer," added Minister Slechtova at the meeting.