21st Tactical Base, Čáslav, Czech Republic
The airport at Čáslav, in the central part of the Czech Republic, has been under military jurisdiction since 1958 and has been a fighter base for the bulk of that time.
The base had the distinction of the being the last home of the Czech MiG-21 fleet when the type was retired in 2005 and two of the three squadrons which currently call the base home are former MiG-21 units.
211 and 212 Squadrons
211 Squadron, which operates the Saab Gripen, was the very last Czech Mig-21 squadron. It’s not unusual to see one or more of the unit’s aircraft wearing special “Tiger” markings as 211 is a member of NATO’s Tiger Association, an international group of squadrons who all have tigers in their heraldry, and a regular participant in “Tiger Meet” events.
212 Squadron has been flying the Aero L-159 ALCA (Advanced Light Combat Aircraft) since 2000. The ALCA bears a resemblance to Aero’s L-39 Albatros training aircraft but is really an almost completely different machine; while the Albatros design did serve as a starting point for the ALCA, there is little to no component commonality between the two.
This unit was formed at Čáslav in December of 2013 as an advanced training squadron and operates a mixed fleet of Aero L-39ZA Albatros and Aero L-159 ALCA aircraft. The Squadron was created by a reorganization of 222 Squadron, which used the L-39ZA at Náměšť nad Oslavou air base. The reorganization saw that base finish conversion to helicopter operations, the 222 Squadron number given to a Mil Mi-171 “Hip” unit and the L-39 aircraft relocated to Čáslav during Autumn of 2013.
Čáslav Base Open Days
The base usually holds open days on a biannual basis and they tend to consist of a good mix of military and civilian aircraft with many of the latter being vintage types.