The Defence Ministry plans to buy 71 vehicles from the Tatra Trucks company
in the course of the next three years for approximately 467 million crowns,
according to a report which is to be put to the cabinet on Monday.
The government will also debate planned expenditures until 2025, amounting to more than 5 billion crowns. The bulk of the money is to be used for purchase of new hardware and pilot training.
Kurt Taussig is one of the 669 Czech Jewish children who were saved from the Holocaust by Sir Nicholas Winton on the eve of the Second World War. The 95-year-old man, who went on to join the RAF as a fighter pilot, has since lived in Great Britain and, until recently, was unknown to Czech historians. Now, more than 75 years after he left his country, he was granted honorary citizenship in his birth-town of Teplice.
The Czech Ministry of Defence is waiting impatiently for the government to
sign off on the biggest purchase in the modern history of the Czech Army,
Právo reported on Tuesday. The military aims to purchase 210 infantry
fighting vehicles at a cost of CZK 53 billion, the newspaper said, adding
that there is cross-party backing for the move.
Four European manufacturers are expected to take part in the tender process. One condition will be that a significant part of the production and servicing take place in conjunction with VOP CZ, a Czech state enterprise run by the Ministry of Defence.
American and Czech soldiers are under investigation in connection with the
death of an Afghan commando who was beaten while in NATO custody in western
Afghanistan, the New York Times reported on Monday.
The commando, Wahidullah Khan, was accused of killing a Czech soldier last month in one of four deadly insider attacks this year by Afghan forces on NATO troops. Jan Pejšek, a spokesman for the Czech Ministry of Defence, has confirmed the ongoing investigation, but strongly denied accusations that Czech troops were involved in Mr. Khan’s death.
On October 22, Khan opened fire on a group of Czech soldiers at Shindand air base, in western Afghanistan. The attack killed one Czech soldier and wounded two others. He was arrested by Afghan troops and was taken into custody by Western forces. By the time he was returned to Afghan forces, around midnight, he had been beaten and was unconscious, Afghan officials said.
Czech pilots who have been training Iraqis in flying Czech-made L-159 jets
will complete their mission in February, Czech Television reported on
Sunday. The Czech experts have been sharing their expertise with local
aviators in Iraq for over two years.
Czech ground staff will remain in the country. The chief engineer on the Czech team told Czech Television that while high temperatures and dust levels were problematic the lack of humidity in Iraq was a major boon.
The chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, Aleš Opata, visited
Czech troops in Iraq and Mali between Wednesday and Friday. In Iraq General
Opata met instructors from the Czech chemical forces, military police and
regular police, as well as flying instructors teaching local pilots in the
use of Czech-made jets.
While in Mali the Czech Army chief met soldiers in the capital Bamako tasked with providing protection to a European Union training mission, a spokesperson for the General Staff told the Czech News Agency.
Czech Army Chief of Staff Aleš Opata has said the country’s armed forces
urgently need to make a series purchases, ranging from protective gear for
soldiers in the field to helicopters and radar systems, the daily Právo
Opata said these items include bulletproof vests and helmets, hand weapons, drones, NATO-calibre artillery, infantry fighting vehicles, three-dimensional Mobile Air Defence Radars, and multipurpose helicopters.
He was speaking at a military-command meeting with President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Tuesday.
According to Právo, President Zeman expressed his support for increasing the number of Czech soldiers serving in Afghanistan under NATO and that they should engage in combat against terrorism.
Speaking to journalists following his address to the Peace Forum in Paris,
Prime Minister Babiš said that in the past Czech troops had been directly
involved in NATO’s combat operations against international terrorism and
it might be time to consider sending them into direct combat again.
He said this was a sensitive political decision that would have to be discussed both at home and with the country’s NATO allies.
At present Czech troops are serving in a number of foreign missions, such as Afghanistan and Mali, where they are involved mainly in training of local security forces and patrolling.
The 100-year history of the Czech state is closely linked to the army,
Czech Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar said on the occasion of Veterans Day
and the end-of-war celebrations in the Czech Republic.
At a ceremony on Prague’s Námestí míru, Defence Minister Metnar spoke about the crucial role of Czechoslovak legionaries in bringing about an independent state for Czechs and Slovaks and the work of Czech soldiers serving in foreign missions today. He paid homage to the four Czech soldiers who recently lost their lives serving in NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
The Czech Republic has marked Veterans Day since 2001. The Defence Ministry registers 14,000 war veterans, of those just 500 from WWII.
The body of another Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan was laid to rest on
Wednesday. The funeral took place in his hometown, Prachatice, with full
Corp.Tomáš Procházka, who was 42 and specialised in dog training, was shot dead on October 22 while returning from a routine mission outside his base in Herat Province. Two other Czech soldiers were injured in the attack.
He was the fourth Czech soldier killed in Afghanistan this year. The first three died in a suicide bomb attack while on a patrol in early August.
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