Five JAS-39 Gripen aircraft and six pilots have successfully completed 80 refueling contacts with German Airbus 310 MRTT tanker in training within ATARES Program.

“The training has increased number of Czech pilots who are able to refuel in the air and advanced capabilities of our flight and, at the same time, advanced combat skills of all the air force,” Captain Pavel Pavlik, Deputy Commander of 211th Tactical Flight says.

The air-to-air refueling training mostly held over the Giant Mountains in the north of the Czech Republic at the beginning of this April followed the initial theory and practice lessons which Czech pilots took in Ronneby, Sweden, last year.

The Air Transport and Air to Air Refueling and other Exchange of Services (ATARES) is a joint NATO and EU program enabling sharing air transport and services capacities. Any participating country can offer its free air or ground services to other partners thus gaining advantage to use free services of other member countries.

The Czech Republic joined the ATARES Program in 2010 and first flights were transportation of Hungarian KFOR soldiers to and from Pristina, Kosovo, this February.