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Giant planes, a drone and helicopters: the US Air Force expands its participation

10.09.2022, 09:18

A week before the start of the NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days, US officials decided to significantly expand the participation of the US Air Force in this biggest security show in Europe. The C-5M Super Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft, the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft and a pair of UH-1 Venom and AH-1 Viper helicopters will be on display at the Mošnov airport.

The C-5M dominated the previous editions of NATO Days with its dimensions, the capacity of this giant from Lockheed Martin will now be used by the US Air Force to transport helicopters of the H-1 system. In contrast, the C-17 Globemaster will carry the MQ-9 Reaper multipurpose drone on board.

“With this expanded participation, the US Air Force will be showcasing a significant portion of its capabilities at our event. We are happy that the Reaper is returning after last year's premiere, that visitors will be able to see the helicopters that will be included in the equipment of the Army of the Czech Republic next year," highlights Zbyněk Pavlačík, chairman of Jagello 2000. "Giant transport aircraft also underline the American participation in terms of presentation allied commitments."

The C-5M Super Galaxy is an upgraded version of the C-5 aircraft. The modernization included new avionics, landing gear, and above all, more powerful engines. The United States Air Force is the only user of this aircraft, which was put into service in 1970 and participated, for example, in the war in Vietnam or operations in Afghanistan.

Even in 2021, the C-5 aircraft delivered the UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters manufactured by Bell to a static demonstration. These are currently used only by the US Navy, while in addition to the Czech Republic, Bahrain also bought 12 AH-1Zs. An interesting fact is that both helicopters share 84% of parts, which makes the operation and maintenance of both machines significantly easier and cheaper.

After a year, the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper is also returning, which is among the most modern machines in its category. It can be described as the first ever "hunter-killer" drone. It can be equipped with four air-to-ground missiles and can stay in the air for up to 14 hours when fully armed. It was deployed, for example, in Iraq or Syria during the fight against the so-called Islamic State, but thanks to its sensors, it is also used by NASA to monitor forest fires or spaceports.

Only the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft is returning "only" after four years.

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