LOM Praha is completing the prototype of the modernized Mi-171Š helicopter

LOM Praha completes prototype of modernized Mi-171&Scaron helicopter

Mil Mi-171š helicopter launch with landing at the international military exercise Ample Strike II/Odolné nebe, September 14, 2022 Náměšť nad Oslavou, Třebíčsko.

Prague – State enterprise LOM Prague is preparing to complete the prototype of the modernized Mi-171Š helicopter for the Czech army. The work on it should be finished by the middle of the year, company director Jiří Protiva told ČTK. At the same time, preparations for the installation of Western technology in another 14 army machines also begin. The Ministry of Defense concluded a contract for the modernization of helicopters with LOM Prague at the end of 2020, the order should be worth 1.2 billion crowns without VAT.

Advertisement'; }

For LOM Praha, repairs and modernization of Russian-made Mi series helicopters were one of the core activities. The combat Mi-24/35 of the Czech army should start to replace the American Vipers and Venoms already this year, the service life of some transport machines is also gradually coming to an end.

Last year, in retaliation for the supply of military equipment to Ukraine, Russia suspended the validity of LOM Prague and Bulgarian companies' certificates for the repair of Russian-made helicopters. According to Protiva, the state-owned company expected a similar step and therefore focused, among other things, on pre-stocking with spare parts. He also prepared the so-called national road for the provision of repairs, i.e. a complex of measures that enables helicopters to continue to be modernized and serviced. According to Protiva, LOM Praha is ready to provide the Czech army with the care of Russian machines until at least 2030.

The state-owned company wants to gradually so-called Westernize helicopters of Russian production, i.e. equip them with Western technology. This also applies to transport Mi-171Š, the modernization of which the ministry decided several years ago. According to Protiva, the machines will be adapted to NATO standards and will be equipped with Western avionics. After modification according to Protiva, it will be the most advanced equipped helicopters of this type.

The modernization concerns a total of 15 helicopters, the prototype is now in the final phase. By the middle of the year, this machine should also pass military tests, which precede inclusion in the army's equipment.

LOM Prague is also working on the modification of two Mi-17 helicopters, which will receive a new rail clamping system. This will make it possible to place seats in the machines, so they will be used not only for the transport of material, but also for soldiers or constitutional officials. The helicopters will thus strengthen the transport capacity of the Kbela air base after the expected decommissioning of transport Mi-8s. The first machine should be ready in the middle of the year, the second at the end of it. Other helicopters could also receive modifications in the future. Protiva noted that the state-owned enterprise also offers various partial installations abroad.

According to Protiva, due to the war in Ukraine, the transition of LOM Prague from Eastern to Western technology is gradually accelerating. The company is trying to offer other services as well, it wants to be involved not only in servicing or repairing newly purchased helicopters from the USA, it also wants to participate in orders for the purchase of drones or the acquisition of new F-35 aircraft.

“LOM Praha has taken a new course. With specific projects, we are trying to show our employees and partners that the state-owned enterprise has a vision, that it has somewhere to go, it is not an enterprise that would stagnate,” said Protiva, who became director two years ago . Since then, the state-owned enterprise has recovered from negative economic results, and expects positive figures for last year as well.

This year, LOM Prague is preparing to demonstrate its capabilities at major fairs in Western countries as well. It also aims to repair equipment that is not used by the Czech army, but for which there are no service centers in Central Europe. An example can be the focus on servicing the engines of the American company Lycoming, the company also wants to offer the services of its electroplating or paint shop.

Protiva added that the modernization also concerns the Aviation Training Center (CLV) in Pardubice, which under LOM Prague it falls Last year, the state enterprise concluded a contract for the purchase of four L-39NG machines, which will replace the L-39C aircraft currently operated by the center. CLV therefore has to build a hall for the simulator and other facilities.