Czechoslovak Group works at 100 % despite the pandemic - the development and prodution did not stop for a single day

Czechoslovak Group works at 100 % despite the pandemic - the development and prodution did not stop for a single day
Caption: Tatra Defence Vehicle
24 / 09 / 2020, 10:00

On Monday, September 21, 2020, a varied program for media representatives took place in Kopřivnice in an area shared by, among others, Tatra Truck and Tatra Defense Vehicle, which belong to the Czechoslovak Group (CSG). In addition to the traditional manufacturers of military and civilian vehicles of the brand, which is celebrating its 170th anniversary this year, the products of other companies of the holding such as Excalibur Army or Retia Pardubice were also presented. Ongoing projects such as Pandur II 8x8 CZ, which culminates in deliveries for the Czech Armed Forces and Indonesia, TITUS, which is just being launched, the promising Patriot II 4x4 or the ReGUARD radar, which can be used to protect airports from terrorist threats, were shown.

Companies belonging to the Czechoslovak Group have not yet directly felt the effects of the expected crisis in connection with the measures taken to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic. This is confirmed by the words of the President of the Defense and Security Industry Association Jiří Hynek - companies operating in the field of defense industry are currently mostly well secured by existing and ongoing contracts, and it is necessary to focus on supporting future sales of newly launched projects where the situation will be more complicated. Tatra, as one of the few since the beginning of the year, did not have to stop production and did not experience problems with sales and exports thanks to well-set solutions. And other companies did well, whether from the Land Systems division dealing with land vehicles or weapons production, or the younger Aerospace division dedicated to the aerospace industry.

See also: Major Czech defence industry companies adhere to Government emergency regulations and continue to produce

Excalibur Army presented itself on Monday's program with the attractive Partiot II 4x4 armored vehicle. It is a vehicle in the weight category from 12 to 17.5 tons designed not only for the armed forces, but also usable by security and rescue services. It is enough to recall the unfortunate events in Vrbětice and the difficult conditions of firefighters' intervention during the explosion of ammunition depots, and it is clear that having a vehicle with ballistic protection can make good sense for them as well. The opportunity to ride on the Tatra polygon could not be refused. The vehicle easily copes with a 45° gradient; thanks to the characteristics of the chassis, the passenger basically does not notice any uneven terrain, and overall at first glance it looks robust, durable and reliable.

See also: Patriot 4x4 Tactical APC

Tatra Trucks presented a range of vehicles on 4x4 and 6x6 chassis with standard and armored cabs and various superstructures, which adapts to the customer's specifications. The Phoenix model, for example, attracted attention with its distinctive yellow paint. It is a key element of the company's civilian program, but is also used by the armed forces. Tatra mainly produces the Tatra Force model line for the army and rescue service. And the introduction of the final assembly line of these and other types was one of the important points of the program throughout the day.

Two hundred specialists are working in a huge hall on the preparation and assembly of individual parts, and the final inspection of the finished vehicle, which has passed tests at the nearby polygon. On the one hand, they assemble the components of the chassis, which receives a surface treatment according to the requirements and conditions of the future service of the vehicle, on the other hand, the propulsion units and cabs are prepared, and between them one vehicle after another is created on the main line. Chassis platforms for special military vehicles are also being created here, whether subsequently manufactured in Kopřivnice or exported abroad.

See also: Czech companies to supply Pandur II armored fighting vehicles to Indonesia

Nearby is the hall of the company which is celebrating its five-year anniversary this year and is one of the youngest companies in the CSG and the Czech defense industry in general: Tatra Defense Vehicle (TDV). Currently, the Pandur 8x8 CZ project culminates here, i.e. a well-known variant of the eight-wheeled armored vehicle, which TDV manufactures under license from GDELS (European branch of the General Dynamics). And not only for the Army of the Czech Republic, which (finally) receives twenty modern command (KOVVŠ) and communications (KOVS) vehicles, and will be able to replace „museum“ vehicles built on the famous yet outdated V3S platform, but also for Indonesia. Two Indonesian Pandurs with the logo of the Indonesian project partner Pindad are currently undergoing modifications after passing tests on the other side of the planet. And near them, one of the last special vehicles for the Czech Armed Forces is being assembled, for which the TDV has developed, among other things, new welded hulls, which can easily hold devices and other equipment of the KOVVŠ and KOVS variants, including telescopic masts.

TITUS chassis

A separate chapter is the TITUS project. Tatra Defense Vehicle is preparing a zero vehicle for explosion tests. Some of its components must fully correspond to those to be fitted to production vehicles in order for the doomed vehicle to be controllable; others, on the other hand, for understandable cost-saving reasons, will be replaced with the weight and size-appropriate models for test purposes. In addition to this "unfortunate" one TDV builds and by the end of the year will complete a prototype for testing other systems, thanks to which it will be able to fulfill the contract in a relatively short time for the Czech Army, and our Armed Forces will receive 62 pieces of command, communication and fire support coordination variants of this modern armored vehicle.

See also: TITUS - a new armored vehicle for the Czech Army is gaining concrete form

Thanks to the Slovak Training Academy, the Aerospace division, which is now the only civilian operator of UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in Europe (and the heavy CH-47 Chinook will be added by the end of the year), was mainly represented on Monday by Retia Pardubice with a model of the ReGUARD radar. Its development culminates and it attracts interest of potential customers from all over the world, as it offers effective solutions for the protection of airports, which today face, among other things, the threat of misuse of drones. ReGUARD is being developed for the detection of small and low-flying or even ground targets (it monitors targets up to the distance of 18 km and up to the height of 3 km). The advantage of the system is compactness and the possibility, in addition to the static location, of its installation, for example, on vehicles, or as portable with the placement of the rotating head on a tripod. It does not take more than ten minutes to deploy and start the radar, which are ideal parameters for airport operators to ensure safety.

See also: ReGUARD by RETIA - the first 3D radar developed in the Czech Republic

Today, the Czechoslovak Group consists of 120 companies, of which 20 are manufacturing companies. Orders for the military and civilian sectors are stable in a ratio of about 50:50 within the total production, and 80% of production is exported abroad. Recent acquisitions include Fábrica de Municiones de Granada. The traditional manufacturer of ammunition has become part of the MSM Group, which covers the Slovak part of CSG. It produces tank and artillery ammunition calibers of 105 and 155 mm, gunpowder, as well as smart ammunition – including SPIKE Anti-Tank Guided Missiles from the armament of the Czech Pandurs II wheeled IFVs. A very significant feature of the holding companies is the important role of its own development. According to TDV CEO Tomáš Mohapl, the number of development employees is growing within Tatra Defense Vehicle. And TDV has not yet been hit by the crisis - however, complications have already been reported in the subcontracting chain. We can only hope that the black scenarios will not materialize and that both domestic and allied forces will be able to cover a period when the export-dependent industry will be in a difficult position due to the impossibility of negotiating and finalizing new contracts.

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