NATO Days 2021 offered a varied and attractive programme

NATO Days 2021 offered a varied and attractive programme
Caption: F-35A of the Italian Air Force
19 / 09 / 2021, 10:00

From the opening paratroopers jump on Saturday to the final flypast of the Swedish SAAB fighter aircraft from the Czech, Hungarian and Swedish air forces, this year's programme was packed with attractive spectacles despite certain restrictions imposed by anti-epidemic measures. Sweden is this year's partner country and SAAB is the general partner. The special partners are CSG and TATRA TRUCKS, and among the main partners we find, among others, leading defence industry companies such as LEONARDO, RHEINMETALL, LOCKHEED MARTIN, BAE SYSTEMS, BELL and others.

Sweden, as a partner country, presented itself during the day with a number of very attractive entries thanks to its Historical Flight, which offered the experience of performing the J29F Tunnan, a fighter aircraft from the 1950s, a generation of legends such as the MiG-15 or the F-86 Sabre, or its successor, the SK 35C Draken, entered service in 1960 and deployed in combat units until 1999, featuring a double delta wing. The Draken was also the first fully supersonic aircraft to enter service in Western Europe.

See also: NATO Days 2020 – Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Fighter Jets for the Czech Army

In the afternoon, it was the turn of another of Sweden's airframes, the AJS37 Viggen, decades younger than the Draken and in its time one of the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, which since November 2005 has been replaced in service by the well-known Gripen. These were then introduced not only by the Swedish Air Force, but also by the Hungarian and, of course, the Czech Air Force.

As the time is approaching when we in the Czech Republic will start to deal with the future of supersonic aviation with urgency, and as two manufacturers with relatively equal chances are most likely to compete for the favour of the Czech Air Force, the potential challengers of SAAB and Gripen, the most widely used fighter aircraft in the Alliance, the iconic F-16, and especially the 5th generation fighter jet the F-35A Lightning II by LOCKHEED MARTIN were presented. The F-16 was showcased in two demonstrations by teams from two allies and regional rivals, the Zeus Demo Team from Greece (115th Fighter Regiment) and later in the afternoon, the Solo Turk Demo Team from Turkey.

The Czech Army offered a series of demonstrations by the 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 22nd Helicopter Base, 7th Mechanised Brigade, 21st Tactical Air Force Base. Shortly after one o'clock, the newly formed 43rd Airborne Regiment performed a mass combat landing.

However, the police, customs administration or firefighters did not remain on the sidelines. The rescue unit of the Fire and Rescue Service of the Czech Republic demonstrated its equipment in the form of TATRA vehicles. Among the products of the Czech arms industry that were presented during the busy Saturday programme, it is worth mentioning the aerobatic performance of the L-39NG trainer aircraft from AERO VODOCHODY.

Furthermore, the public could see the TITUS armoured vehicle in the variant of the Fire Support Coordination Point (MKPP) exhibited by TATRA DEFENSE VEHICLE, and among the foreign ones, especially the ASCOD tracked combat vehicles from GDELS, which was presented in a dynamic demonstration, the modern LYNX from RHEINMETALL with attractive camouflage, and the CV90 from BAE SYSTEMS, which, however, could not be seen in the expected version of the IFV, but only in the light tank variant. Speaking of tanks, Bundeswehr’s Leopard 2A7 was also a popular vehicle at the weekend event.

NATO Days also featured RETIA, the company behind the development of the first Czech multi-purpose radar for detecting and tracking ground and low-flying targets such as drones, as well as the ReTwis radar, which can track the movement of people behind fixed obstacles. RETIA is a major contributor to the Spyder air defence systems project, the acquisition of which is reaching its peak for the Czech Armed Forces.

See also: NATO Days 2019 – 220 thousand visitors and 17 countries

Visitors also had the opportunity to see a Canadian Air Force F-18 in a static display. BELL presented VENOM multi-purpose helicopters and VIPER attack helicopters, which will form the backbone of the Czech helicopter aviation in the coming decades.

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