Was the opportunity to become the commander of the Slavsk base a surprise for you, or did you stumble a little through this career progression?
The death of my nominal commander of the depot was a long-term one, I was one of the candidates. When I went to study in the USA last year, I assumed that I could take over the post after Brigadier General Mko one day.
Maybe I didn’t realize that it would be so soon, because I was a functional analogue of the commander for years and years. General Mka was appointed acting deputy editor of the force development section of the Ministry of Defense after two years in the warehouse. It is not a logical result of the personnel changes associated with the recent appointment of a new member of the general staff (in the past he became Major General Karel Ehka, editor’s note) and, more importantly, a promotion within the army hierarchy.
You have been working at Slavská letiti since 2000. How has the technique you use changed during that time?
The difference is diametrical. When I joined Slavi, the first new squadron armed with L-159 ALCA aircraft was being formed, and a new generation of pilots was at the same time. Those over a thousand years old who flew MiG-21 and MiG-23 aircraft manufactured in the 1970s and late 1980s are gone. These were subsequently replaced by a completely new technology of all grips; I’ll tell you what the data is and how it’s displayed.
There is no HOTAS system for migs, where you control all the functions of the dog switch and the sensors on the dic pc. The planes didn’t even have a glass cockpit, and there wasn’t a screen in it that projected information. In 2005, when we were moving out of hell, we started to use the fourth generation JAS-39 Gripen aircraft, which was a huge shift.
You have a total of 1,500 hours on these machines. I’m assuming that because of the new function, you don’t just lift it into the cockpit. Will we miss the pilot house?
As the commander of the base station, I will be a pilot in the table, so I will carry out more flight training. However, due to my duties at my new post, I will not be able to devote myself to him as often. However, I do not think that this should be a handicap, because in addition to experience in airspace protection in the Republic and foreign missions, I also have an instructor-inspector qualification, so I can inspect according to the pilot.
In your speech at the beginning of the position of commander of the base, you changed the goals that you had set for the upcoming period. Let’s take them apart. The first one is struck as high as full of the main wheels of the Slavic warehouse…
Airspace protection in the NATINAMDS chain (Integrated anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system of the North Atlantic Alliance, which detects, tracks, identifies and monitors objects, editor’s note) is a priority. And not only in the Czech Republic, but also at foreign missions in the Baltics. In order to be able to fulfill it well, we must have continuity of flight training for new pilots and for those who serve it with us. Our next round is the support of ground troops, which could accidentally come into contact with the insect during combat activities, and thus the full Air-to-ground round. It is an air-to-ground flow, i.e. an action against land targets. In all these activities, we are at a very high level, in which we must continue for a long time.
You have already mentioned that you want to focus on the intensive preparation of all full-cycle weapons in combat conditions. Think she wasn’t enough?
Definitely not, but I would like it to be more complex. Even in the past, we conducted an exercise in the cell of the 21st base of the tactical air force in Slavo. Now, I would like to start a training schedule, which would include, in addition to the squadrons themselves, other units at the base. This is, for example, called force protection, i.e. the side of the service that wants to fly. The task is such that the soldiers of the bases, who are assigned to combat shifts, are actively involved in the conduct of the air exercise. In the case of a party to the service, its members could monitor and defend the perimeter of the warehouse, build capture points or try to eliminate a fictitious sabotage group.
Your last priority in the new position of commander is the preparation of the base for the operation of two supersonic squadrons after 2027. Does this have a connection with the real option that the Gripen will be replaced by American F-35 aircraft?
You know that the Ministry of Defense is now negotiating with the Americans about the purchase of F-35 aircraft and that the Gripen will be delivered in 2027 with an option until 2029. From the analysis prepared by the members of the Army R, it follows that within a five-ten-year horizon on the basis of the number of supersonic aircraft so that two squadrons could be formed. This march will not be easy both in terms of personnel and in terms of infrastructure preparation.
Does this mean that the Slovak airline will have to undergo a major modernization?
Yes, it is absolutely necessary. The Pistvac railway was built in the 1950s, and during that time only minimal revision work took place on it. Her short life will end soon. Regardless of how we will use the planes, it is necessary to build new take-offs, runways and runways. This building must be removed and a new one will be created on its plan. We are already completing this reconstruction in 2026 and it should last two years. At that time, we would fly from Pardubice to Nmti. The creation of two squadrons will require the construction of infrastructure for storage and training of specialized personnel.
Although I know that the Polish military representative does not want to comment publicly on the issue of new supersonic aircraft, I have to ask: Are you looking to buy F-35 jets, or to buy Gripens?
If you ask the pilot’s point of view, the F-35 is now definitely one of the best aircraft on the market and the only so-called 5th generation. And it is quite natural that every fighter pilot wants to have the best equipment in order to gain operational and tactical advantage.
Colonel Jaroslav Tomaa
How will the pilots of the new F-35 planes be combined, that is, of course, if the government finally chooses them?
I don’t think it should be a big problem. Gripens are 4th generation aircraft and in many ways they are efptatictkm pibliuj. So what are the philosophies and views of the pilots, I don’t say that there should be any significant differences between these two types of aircraft. It would go smoothly as hell.
My idea in this context is whether there is some kind of border beyond which pilots cannot go beyond it for flight training and sharp attacks
Two bvala, mind, that was 52 years. At the present time, however, such a restrictive limitation does not exist. Depending on the state of health of the pilots, which is assessed every year. Those who crossed it at the age of fifty must complete visits twice a year. theoretically, even a 50-year-old pilot could fly. However, we ourselves are very sensitive in our assessment of pilots who are not allowed to fly until they are old enough to be a burden to us.
What is the current perception of the profession of a fighter pilot, and if you compare it to the end of the last century, is the adept’s approach to this prestigious job?
Although I don’t have exact data and I’m just speculating, it seems to me that this profession is not as attractive as the two for the new generation of lovers. Many of them want to reach the result immediately and apply as soon as possible. The University of Defense in Brno will open a separate field of study and a pilot module. Until recently, it was true that students who entered this university and planned to devote themselves to the work of a pilot, found out in the course of several years whether they had all the prerequisites for it. A lot of lids probably put it off.
I would also like to touch a wolf to Ukraine. If NATO is participating in this conflict, what would it mean for our republic?
I believe that in the event that the North Atlantic Alliance would be drawn into this conflict by a combination of circumstances and escalation of aggression, we would together with the Baltic states, Poland and Slovakia face the main threat of Russia. They have weapon systems that are capable of hitting us without a problem. And we must be prepared for this worst-case scenario. Our pilots are used to flying armed planes, missiles and cannons, and we regularly train with allied partners.
How do you expect Russian aggression to develop further?
It is very difficult to predict how it will develop. First, because of the unpredictable behavior of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This is the klov aspect.
And in your opinion, how would the combat air force of NATO and Russia compare in practice?
It would develop in the right direction for NATO. (smv)