04:53 GMT +314 December 2018
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    USAF to Protect Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish Skies – Media

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    US fighter jets stationed in Europe could in the foreseeable future be used to safeguard the airspace of the so-called Visegrad 4 countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary), Czech media reported Wednesday.

    “If an aircraft, commandeered by terrorists, appears in the Czech airspace, or a Russian military plane 'mistakenly' crosses in,  then US fighter jets could eventually be able to scramble and  deal with the intruder,” the Prague-based Idnes online paper reported, citing its own sources in the country’s Defense Ministry.

    This could be possible after a common airspace protection agreement will be signed by the V4 countries. Czech Deputy Defense Minister Daniel Kostoval believes this could happen within the next few months.

    Until now US fighter jets stationed at Rammstein air base in Germany could only be seen flying regular sorties in Polish airspace.

    The new plan, thanks to already existing US-Polish accords, would allow US warplanes to fly in the skies of the other  V4 states as well.

    The US pilots would be able to offer logistical help to local colleagues, but would not be authorized to shoot down “enemy” planes, said Czech military expert Frantisek Schulz.

    Slovakia and the Czech Republic have already agreed to protect their airspace together.

    The Czech Republic and Hungary rely heavily on Saab JAS 39 Gripen multirole fighters leased from Sweden. Slovakia too plans to lease eight Gripen jets from Sweden.

    The Polish Air Force has a fleet of 50 modernized F-16 fighter planes and 30 upgraded MiG-29s.

    Related:

    Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic Want Common Airspace
    US Air Force Consolidates Bomber Fleets Under One Command
    Tags:
    common airspace protection, MiG-29, F-16 fighter jet, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, US Air Force, Czech Defense Ministry, Frantisek Schulz, Daniel Kostoval, Eastern Europe
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