The Czech Army chose to buy 12 military helicopters from US maker Bell
rather than a cheaper option from its rival Sikorsky mainly because Bell
offered greater cooperation with Czech firms, the daily Právo reports.
The deal priced at 14.5 billion crowns included 8 utility Venom helicopters and 4 attack Viper helicopters, which share most of their parts. Sikorsky had offered 12 Black Hawks for 1 billion crows less and included weaponry and ammunition shipments.
But military officials told Právo that Bell offered far more work for Czech companies, in particular the state-owned enterprise LOM Praha, which fixes and maintains Soviet-era Mi-24 helicopters, and the Military Technical Institute (VTÚ).
Bell’s deal also allowed for preserving combat capabilities when the Mi-24s are removed from service, around 2025, the sources said.
The Czech Army will acquire US combat and multipurpose helicopters Viper
and Venom. According to Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar, a combination of
two machines is more appropriate than the purchase of only multi-purpose
Black Hawk helicopters. The helicopters should be available in 2023.
The ministry received two offers for the purchase of helicopters from the US government in late June. The US administration offered either 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for 13.2 billion crowns or eight UH-1Y Venom helicopters along with four AH-1Z Viper helicopters worth 14.5 billion crowns. The price includes maintenance and training of personnel.
The bids were assessed by a committee made up of ministry and army representatives. The contract should be signed by the end of the year.
The Czech Ministry of Defence will receive an extra 1.2 billion in
government funding next year, bringing its 2020 budget to CZK 75.5 billion.
The further budget increase, was announced at a press conference by Defence
Minister Lubomír Metnar after he met with Finance Minister Alena
Schillerová on Wednesday morning. Mr. Metnar says the money will be spent
With this extra boost, the ministry, which is currently running a modernisation programme within the Czech armed forces, will receive CZK 8.8 billion more in funding next year compared to its current budget.
The country has previously pledged to reach the NATO member states defence spending target of 2 percent by 2024. Currently, military spending amounts to just 1.2 percent of GDP.
The company Tatra Trucks is due to supply 71 new trucks to the Czech Army
at a value of CZK 570,000 in the coming years, a spokesperson for the
company said. The firm, which is based in Kopřivnice in the Moravian
Silesian Region, signed a contract on the deal with the Ministry of Defence
All of the trucks will be delivered before 2024. The Czech Army currently uses more than 3,000 Tatra vehicles.
Scientists from the Technical University of Liberec have developed a
military uniform that changes camouflage depending on the environment, the
ČTK agency reports.
The camouflage fatigues are made from a material that contains thermochromic pigments and change colour depending on the environment.
If the temperature exceeds 37 degrees Celsius, the material changes from a mix of green and brown – the classic ‘forest’ colouring – to a mix of brown and beige – the classic ‘desert’ colouring.
The scientists spent two years developing the material so that it could withstand long-term exposure to sunlight and still return to the ‘forest’ colouring.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) has described the
irregular granting of Czech visas to Iranian entrepreneurs as having
resulted from an “individual failing” on the part of the recently
recalled Czech ambassador to Iran.
The daily Deník N reported on Wednesday that the Czech Republic had recalled career diplomat Svatopluk Čumba from Tehran early following an investigation of fraudulent practices in granting Schengen visas to Iranians.
According to the daily, the scheme allegedly also involved the Czech-Slovak -Iranian Chamber of Commerce, led by Jan Kavan, a former Czech Foreign Minister, and Zdeněk Zbytek, a former officer in the Czechoslovak Army who led a tank battalion during the Velvet Revolution.
Amb. Čumba allegedly granted 400 priority visas to individuals recommended by Kavan and in doing so circumvented standard procedures for granting Schengen visas.
Petříček said he was prepared to provide full details to the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of Parliament. The General Inspectorate of the Czech Foreign Ministry has been investigating the alleged practice.
The police force and the army are the most trusted institutions in the
Czech Republic, according to a poll conducted by the STEM agency.
The police force enjoys the trust of 72 percent of Czechs, the highest trust-rate in 22years, while the army has a 75 percent trust rating.
Trust in the police force has steadily grown since the fall of communism when it underwent reform and started projecting a new image.
In 1997 the police had a 25 percent trust rating, last year it was 65 percent. Trust in NATO has also seen a rise and is now at 60 percent.
The Czech Republic's Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček
visited Afghanistan this week, two months before the country's
presidential elections. The Social Democrat minister highlighted the need
for further peace talks in the country after a meeting with the Asian
state's government representatives. He also met with the Chief
Executive of the Islamic Republic Abdullah Abdullah, who is one of the men
currently running in the country's presidential elections.
The trip included a visit to Bagram Air Field, where Mr. Petříček met with Czech soldiers and praised their work.
Czech military police have taken four people into custody in connection
with the death of an Afghan commando and terror suspect beaten while in
NATO custody. A state prosecutor said they face charges for failing to
report a crime.
The Afghan commando, Wahidullah Khan, was accused of killing a Czech soldier in October 2018 in one of many insider attacks by Afghan forces on NATO troops last year.
He allegedly opened fire on a group of Czech soldiers at Shindand air base, a facility in Herat Province in western Afghanistan. That attack killed Cpl. Tomáš Procházka and wounded two other Czech soldiers.
At the time, Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) rejected that Czech soldiers were responsible for Khan’s death. The Defence Ministry has declined to comment on Thursday’s arrest of four people.
The Czech Republic currently has 345 soldiers in Afghanistan. So far, 14 Czech soldiers have been killed there.
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