MoD's response to the decision of the Office on the acquisition of helicopters

MoD's response to the decision of the Office on the acquisition of helicopters
Author: USMC|Caption: Venom and Viper
11 / 02 / 2021, 10:00

MoD's press release: In the summer of last year, the Office for the Protection of Competition rejected the proposal by the Italian company Leonardo to impose a ban on the performance of the contract for the purchase of multi-purpose helicopters concluded between the Czech and US governments. Based on this decision, the performance of the contract continues and 12 new helicopters will be delivered by the end of 2023 according to the approved schedule.

Now, however, the Office has issued a decision imposing a fine of CZK 550 million on the Ministry of Defense for failing to settle Leonardo's objections before signing the intergovernmental agreement. The Ministry of Defense cannot agree with the given conclusion.

See also: Leonardo turned to the Office for the Protection of Competition regarding the multi-purpose helicopters acquisition

"It is impossible to accept the fact that we should have dealt with the objection of someone who is unable to supply us with what we require and has never been directly approached by us. This is unacceptable from the point of view of ensuring the Czech Republic's defenses, because it can delay the modernization of the Army by months or years. We stand behind our procedure and consider it to be correct. I also consider the amount of the imposed sanction to be completely inadequate," sums up the Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar.

The Ministry of Defense considered and still considers the objection filed by Leonardo to be unfounded. This is an entity that has never been directly approached by the Ministry in the context of a market research project. This has always been only the Italian Government. However it was not the Government who objected. Leonardo's objection was merely a purposeful obstruction in order to avoid a Government-to-Government agreement with the United States.

See also: MoD did violate the Public Procurement Act – but the purchase of the Venom and Viper helicopters stays confirmed by the OPC

The intergovernmental purchase of helicopters was resolved using the exemption for the purchase of military equipment allowed by the Public Procurement Act. It is possible to conclude from the decision of the Office that anyone, even if they did not participate in the proceedings, is entitled to file an objection to such a contract, which may block the entire process. In such a case, however, the use of an exception to guarantee the state the supply of strategic material for its defense is meaningless, because the purchase can be challenged by anyone at any time.

The Czech Army demanded military helicopters proven by combat deployment and with certified armament. Only one offer has been made, and the American H-1 system, with its combination of Venom and Viper helicopters, fully fulfills the given assignment.

"American helicopters have saved my life and my team several times in missions. For me, from the practical point of view no other variant for the Czech Army can be considered," adds Lt. Col. Petr Matouš, Advisor to the Prime Minister in the field of defense and security.

The Italian side was able to offer only a helicopter that did not meet the specified technical parameters and was never operationally deployed. The opinion has always prevailed among experts that in this case it is only a militarized version of a civilian helicopter.

See also: A fine of half a billion for the Ministry of Defense for the purchase of Venom and Viper helicopters

In the context of the above, the Ministry considers the imposed fine to be unacceptable. If, unlike the Ministry of Defense, the Office came to the legal opinion that the objection was justified, it should also have taken into account the fact that it was an obstructive objection and set a symbolic fine.

The administrative proceedings have not yet been completed. The Ministry of Defense is ready to defend itself and lodge an appeal with the President of the Office. The half-billion sanction casts a bad light on the successfully concluded strategic projects that are necessary to ensure the defense of the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Defense insists that it complies with the law when acquiring helicopters and implementing other modernization projects.

Source: Press Section - Ministry of Defence,

Tags of article

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