Four pilots and two air defence servicemen received a special award from representatives of the Czech armed forces and Saab. The ceremony took place during the NATO Days in Ostrava, in the presence of Czech Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický.
Pilots of the Czech Air Force, Major Michal Daněk, Captain Ervín Ehm, Major Tomáš Merta and Major Martin Pelda, were decorated on the occasion of achieving 1,000 flight hours in the JAS-39 Gripen supersonic fighter.
“The capabilities and experience of Czech pilots are remarkable. We are proud to provide them, through the Gripens, with everything they need to make full use of their skills,” says Tobias Wennberg, Senior Vice President and Director for Central and Eastern Europe of Saab AB, the company manufacturing the aircraft. The pilots were also congratulated by Swedish Air Force commander Micael Bydén, who emphasized the high level of cooperation between the two countries.
Crystal plaques were also awarded to Sergeant Zdeněk Kraus and Corporal Ladislav Novotný, the best operators of the RBS 70 SAM system.
“Being among the two best RBS 70 operators is a sign of top-notch quality,” says Mats Fagerberg, Saab’s Vice President for Central and Eastern Europe in the segment of ground systems. “The award is the ultimate proof of patience, perseverance and fast thinking they have demonstrated as operators of the system.”
Saab is the general partner of the NATO Days which take place on September 20 and 21, 2014, at the Leoš Janáček Airport in Ostrava – Mošnov. In addition to Saab’s Gripens taking part in static and dynamic demonstrations, the company also shows its SAVIT virtual small arms simulation system here.
Saab’s presence in Central Europe is very significant. The Czech Republic and Hungary each operate a fleet of fourteen Gripen supersonic fighter jets, fully interoperable with other NATO air forces. The Gripen is also being marketed in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Croatia. Saab also owns and operates a facility developing and manufacturing virtual simulators in the Czech Republic.
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