The Russians previously used the AN-26 Curl (Antonov) aircraft, manufactured in Russia for their Special Operations forces. Prior to that, they used the AN-2 Colt.
The Let L-410 Turbolet is a twin-engine short-range transport aircraft, manufactured by the Czech aircraft manufacturer LET, often used as an airliner. The aircraft is capable of landing on short and unpaved runways and operating under extreme conditions from +50 °C to -50 °C. In 2016, 1,200 L-410 have been built and over 350 are in service in more than 50 countries.
The Russian Ministry of Defense will buy 18 L-410s of Czech origin, designed for the needs of special forces of the army. During a visit to the Yekaterinburg assembly plant on Monday, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said.
The army wants aircraft to adjust for difficult climatic conditions. “We have a firm contract for 18 aircraft. We plan to use modifications for landing on the water and on the snow for the needs of special operations operations, “said Deputy Borisov, according to TASS.
The assembly hall in Ekaterinburg was visited by President Milos Zeman during his November voyage to Russia. Chief Executive Officer Vadim Badech said he was preparing to build a new assembly operation to ensure a stable supply of aircraft to the Russian Federation. The departments of the Kunov company, Aercraft Industries, which manufactures the L-410 aircraft, have long been concerned about the shift of machine production to Russia. According to them, the Russian owner of the company is seeking a move.
The Czech L-410 aircraft are installed in the Ekaterinburg plant on the basis of the Aircraft Industries contract with Ural Civil Aviation (UZGA), which is a 100% owner of the former Kunovice company since 2013. The agreement for cooperation with UZGA was signed by the Russian owner of the Kunovice firm in July 2015.
The factory in Ekaterinburg wants to modernize the airplane, according to TASS. It involves the replacement of on-board equipment for Russian production systems and the reconstruction of the chassis for landing on snow and water. The aircraft should be able to land on a soft surface outside the standard runway.