2019 will bring important changes to the Czech Army

2019 will bring important changes to the Czech Army
14 / 02 / 2019, 10:00

On 7th February a meeting of the Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar and the Chief of General Staff General Aleš Opata with the media was held to present the priorities and plans for the Czech Army for 2019, and to summarize successfully accomplished or running projects: Light Armored Vehicles (CBRN), Very Short Range Air Defence Systems, or flight training.

"This year we would like to finalize strategic acquisitions such as the purchase of the Infantry Fighting Vehicles, radars, helicopters, TITUS vehicles, small arms and other. It certainly won't be simple but we cannot withdraw from these objectives or to move them in time. I will firmly require respect of deadlines and designated schedules, transparency, and as extensive involvement  of the Czech defence industry as possible," Minister Metnar said.

According to the Minister, projects totalling CZK 70 billion (USD 3.1 billion) we submitted to the Government in the past year, which was eight times more than in 2017. Key contracts were signed with the VVU (Military Research Institute) concerning the acquisition of 80 Light Armored Vehicles for the 31st Regiment of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection, with SAAB concerning the purchase of the RBS-70 NG anti-aircraft systems, flight training or the purchase of four L-39 NG’s trainer jets developed and produced by AERO Vochochody. At least CZK 61 billion (USD 2.7 billion) will be invested in 2019-2021 into development of the Czech Army and its capabilities.

Minister informed the media that an amended version of the new law on the Military Intelligence concerning the cyber defence will now go through an interdepartmental commentary procedure (in which the central state bodies, regional authorities and other concerned institutions may express their opinion). According to the Minister the law will allow the Czech Republic to detect and counter cyber attacks efficiently.

General Opata said that part of the acquisition projects of immediate impact were accomplished last year and at the beggining of 2019. He mentioned specifically the purchase 1,500 ballistic AirFrame Helmets in use by the Czech Army’s 43rd Airborne Battalion and the 601st Special Forces Group since 2017. New helmets for the other troops are now passing military testing; the Army plans to acquire 30 thousand pieces. In the following days four recovery variants of the Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle Pandur II will be delivered. The Army also plans to replace the aging UAZ off-roads with new vehicles.

Chief of General Staff also expressed satisfaction over efficient recruitement: the actual number of Czech professional soldiers reaches 25,074, and the number of members of the Active Reserve is 2,885 (which exceeds plans even for 2020). The nucleus of the new Cybernetic Forces and Information Operations HQ became active at the beggining of 2019. In July 2019, the HQ for territories, Host Nation Support battalion and the new Airborne Regiment will start to form. New General Staff’s working compartment for acquisitions will be opened in Stará Boleslav to support and complete the Armaments and Acquisition Division of the Ministry of Defence. This year the Army will also adopt new command and control system in three levels: strategic, operational, and tactical.

Source: army.cz

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