Czech Republic must gain the involvement of the Czech defense industry in the acquisition of new guns, MP says

Czech Republic must gain the involvement of the Czech defense industry in the acquisition of new guns, MP says
15 / 10 / 2020, 10:00

We bring an interview with MP Pavel Růžička, member of the Lower House Defense Committee, on the topic of ongoing acquisitions of the Ministry of Defense, and especially the current state of the acquisition of French 155mm CAESAR self-propelled howitzers. We were interested in his opinion on the involvement of the Czech defense industry in the contract and the issue of ammunition supplies. Růžička believes that, as in the case of MADR radars, we will have "sharp elbows".

  • A Subcommittee on Military Acquisitions was held last week to discuss current military purchases. What's new in this matter?

The purchase of new 155 mm caliber guns is certainly the furthest in this respect. Here, the Government decided to proceed in the form of G2G, which speeds up the whole process. Other purchases are also moving forward, whether it is the Fire Control System or new Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

See also: Delivery of CAESAR howitzers: how shall we calculate what will the real share of Czech industry be?

  • Let's discuss the purchase of new artillery equipment. As you said, it should be a G2G purchase between the Czech Republic and France. How has negotiations progressed here?

One direction is the technical one, where the Army specifies exactly its requirements, I don't see any problem here. However, the key is the political direction, where the Czech Republic must gain the involvement of the Czech defense industry. The Defense Committee has previously clearly decided that it requires 40% of the contract for Czech industry. The French side is trying to get away from it. But for me, this request is uncrossable. If the other party does not secure the agreed share of Czech industry, then the contract should not even be signed. It is a G2G purchase, we will pay and we must enforce the conditions.

  • Another key issue is certainly also the ammunition supply for new guns. Who will supply it for the Czech Army?

It is inconceivable for me that ammunition would not be produced here. It is not only a job for Czech companies, but it is also a security issue. The situation with masks during the spring crisis certainly taught us that what we cannot do ourselves at the crucial moment of crisis, we cannot have. The production of ammunition must be certified in the Czech Republic and the Czech Republic should also buy it from Czech companies.

See also: Czech defense industry can produce the 155mm artillery ammunition - and should also supply it for new CAESAR howitzers

  • In your opinion, does the form of G2G purchasing prove to be successful? What does the case of buying new guns show?

Apart from the speed, which is definitely higher than in the classic tender, it is above all an opportunity to negotiate the best possible conditions for us as for the country. Today, at the time of coronavirus, it is really a question of whether it will be a job for the Czech people or for the French. And every new job trully counts. That is why I say clearly, we want 40 percent of the contract for Czech companies. This is an insurmountable condition. But in the past we have shown that the Czech Republic has the power to achieve this. The purchase of 3D radars has also stretched. But we have shown that we have sharp elbows and today the order is largely processed by us.

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