This years edition of NATO Days at the town of Ostrava in Czech Republic took place, despite COVID-19. But there were some shortfalls: The static display was cancelled and only flying displays took place above Leoš Janáček Aiport. A web stream of the dispalys was set up for all aircraft enthusiasts around the world. Next to Czech Air Force, foreign air forces participated e.g. with these types: German A400M, Austrian Saab 105Oe, Hungarian JAS39 C Gripen, Slovakian MiG-29, US Air Force with F-16CM/DM, B-52 flyby.
As most of the jet aircraft participants from Czech Air Force are based at Čáslav, we decided to spend a day at the fence of this air base with enough security space around us. The squadrons based at 21st tactical air force base are:
- 211 tactical squadron with Saab JAS39 C/D Gripen
- 212 tactical squadron with Aero Vodochody L-159A ALCA
- 213 tactical squadron with Aero Vodochody L-159 T1/T2 ALCA
211 squadron is also a proud member of NATO Tigers and showed their tiger spirit with some colorfull droptanks and markings on their Gripens.
Based on the L-39 Albatros jet trainer aircraft, the L-159 Adavanced Light Combat Aircraft (ALCA) is the evolution for the 21st century. It is westernized and was the first L-39 variant with a radar. ALCA is optimized for Close Air Support (CAS), Foreward Air Control (FAC) and Combat Air Patrol (CAP) and replaced MiG-23ML in Czech Air Force. The avionic suite is build to NATO standards and it was also the first Czech aircraft with Hands On Throtle And Stick (HOTAS). Its first flight was on October 20th 2000 with the first two deliveries to Čáslav on December 29th of the same year. So 2020 marks the 20th Anniversary of L-159 in service with Czech Air Force. L-159A 6070 just left a major overhaul including Service Life Extension (SLE) for 8 years called PP16 (after 16 years of operation) and received a splendid special paint in digital camouflage pattern and a specially painted vertical stabilizer.
Next to the local aircraft take offs and landings, we enjoyed a flyby of L-39NG prototype and some Spangdahlem F-16s from 480th Fighter Squadron “Warhawks”. The B-52 was sadly too far away for images this time. We’re looking foreward to NATO Days 2021 at Ostrava again, even though the iconic MiG-21 LanceR from Romanian Air Force is now replaced by some second hand F-16AMs from Portuguese Air Force.