Martin Lank: for the IFVs, MBTs and fighter jets acquisition I would choose G2G

Martin Lank: for the IFVs, MBTs and fighter jets acquisition I would choose G2G
05 / 03 / 2020, 10:00

Interview with former MEP and current president of the National Permanent Security Conference Martin Lank about overpriced contracts of the Ministry of Defence and potential solutions. In particular, the planned contract to modernize 33 T72M4 CZ main battle tanks at risk of price increases, as well as about the commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence by 2024.

  • Since the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Defence has been dealing with very serious problems related to the multiple price increases for some orders, as we could see for example with passive radars. Now the problem is increasing with the modernization of the T-72 tanks. Why did so many problems arose?

In my opinion, it is related to the fact that the Ministry of Defence has long-term problems with the management of military purchases. These are often personnel failures, and Minister Metnar has already taken a number of measures. The problem, however, is that this inability leads to the depletion of the money for defence. Every year, defence budget returns. The Ministry solves this by paying advances, but there are limits. This year, a large amount of funds for the purchase of the tracked IFVs should be used up. But if this happens, it is - very diplomatically speaking - with question marks. If it fails, what do we do then?

See also: VERA NG deployable passive ESM trackers case - Czech Army to pay three times more than the NCI did in 2014?

  • Which way do you see the way out? How to start purchasing properly?

There is always the best conceptual solution - the amendment of the law. But the Ministry is late and we need to deal with the situation right away. However, I would take inspiration from the two biggest contracts they made at the end of last year - MADR radars and multi-purpose helicopters. These were made in the form of G2G, ie buying government-government.

  • This has the advantage that it can be relatively fast, that our national interests are well reflected and that we build partnerships. In addition, it can be purchased in several countries, for example within the V4. Then you can get better prices. Especially the biggest tenders awaiting us now - IFVs, tanks and fighter jets, I would definitely choose in this way.

Defence spending is also related to our commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence by 2024. Defence Minister Metnar and Interior Minister Jan Hamáček have had a conflict over this issue recently. Minister Metnar reproached his colleague his interests are with his political gains at the expense of national security. How do you perceive this clash?

See also: MoD’s Christmas bill for US helicopters: CZK 12 billion increase requirement

I point to this for a long time. The general political will to spend resources on defence and security will decline as economic growth slows and the state budget dwindles. Of course, I am on the side of not reducing defence spending, but all the more so it is necessary for military orders to work and money to be spent.

  • So we need to buy before the defence loses its money?

Exactly. I heard an interesting suggestion. Make one big joint purchase of the IFV and the taks as G2G. It would solve all the heavy ground equipment, which is in terrible condition today and the soldiers are basically ashamed of it. Due to the size of the order we could negotiate a better price, there are synergies in logistics and supply. Payments for purchases could be spread over a number of years and thus have fixed expenses and there would be no risk of the Army losing money. We could also negotiate the greatest possible involvement of Czech industry. Finally, we would get out of the cramp that ties army tenders today.

  • In terms of ground technology there is also the question of the modernization of the old ex-Soviet tanks T72M4 CZ, which may also see the rise in price. Is there still place for these vehicles in modern army?

To put it frankly, upgrading old Soviet T-72 tanks makes no sense. There were problems with their first modernization in the 1990s, and even now I don't believe it much, especially if the price doubled, as announced. It is necessary to realize that we would develop a few total unique pieces that are not anywhere in the world. In a few years they will break down and there will be no one to repair them – as we see even today. Rather, we should take advantage of the synergy effect that our technology will be compatible with other NATO countries. For vehicles produced in large series, there is a certainty that the producer will invest in their further development, that there will be no problem with spare parts. I think we could buy a couple of brand new tanks at that price.

See also: Further modernization the ex-Soviet Czech T-72M4 CZ makes little sense

Tags of article

This website uses to provide services, personalize ads, and analyzing visitor cookies. By using this site you agree.More information