|The Czech Air Force was formed in 1993 following the split of Czechoslovakia with Slovakia. Looking to the future the following year they joined the NATO Partnership for Peace Program. 13 years on Czech Air Force is now leaner and fitter having reduced it's bases from eleven in 1993 to the current four bases of Caslav, Kbely, Prerov and Namest nad Osavou. It's aging MiG fighters have been replaced with NATO standard ultra-modern aircraft such as the SAAB JAS39 Gripen. Other aircraft such as the Mil MI-24V Hind have been updated with NATO standard avionics. Participating in many NATO
exercises each year the Czech Air Force is now a valuable member of NATO.
Its not surprising that the Czech Air Force is keen to show off its air power to the Czech people and also to the wider world by organising an airshow each year. Brno a former military base as evidenced by it's crumbling hardened air shelters is now a international airport, receiving regular flights from the UK and across Europe. The modest show allows good access to a varied static lineup and interesting range of fighter and transport aircraft. The display itself started off well as usual with a mass-flypast from the Czech Air Force, which consisted of; 3x Mil Mi-17/171, 3x Mi-24/35, 3x L-39ZA, 3x L-159 and 2x JAS39
Gripens. Working around departing airliners there were numerous solo displays as well as from the Frecce Tricolori and the Polish Iskra display teams. The Slovakia Air Force understandably was a major participant in the show.
Unfortunately from the Photographer's point of view the crowd is looking towards the south and the bright sun (on Saturday only). On Sunday I decided to approach the base from the south and found a position outside the base. The day was dull and most of the action too far away for the very best pictures to be taken.