The state spends billions on purchase and service of armored vehicles. Nevertheless, a large part is not operational

The state spends billions on purchase and service of armored vehicles. Nevertheless, a large part is not operational
28 / 05 / 2020, 10:00

The Supreme Audit Office inspected the purchase, modernization, repairs and maintenance of the Czech Army's armored vehicles between 2016 and 2018. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) invested 2.8 billion crowns in new equipment in those years, another 1.3 billion crowns were spent on repairs, maintenance and spare parts. Despite these expenses, much of the armored vehicles were not operational. This can jeopardize the Army's combat capability. All inspected purchases and service support were ordered by the MoD on the basis of an exception from the law or in a negotiated procedure without publication. Dependence on suppliers or rising prices of repairs and maintenance of armored vehicles are also a problem.

When purchasing armored vehicles, the MoD did not address the cost of the entire life cycle of it, despite it has been imposed by Government resolutions since 2011. The fact that the Ministry does not address maintenance and repair costs at the time of purchase leads to it becoming dependent on suppliers of service support and spare parts and the operation of armored vehicles are more expensive. Expenditures on service support and the purchase of spare parts increased from 194 million crowns in 2016 to almost 780 million crowns in 2018.

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Problems with the supply of spare parts and service have manifested themselves, for example, in Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Armored Personnel Carriers or modernized tanks. These vehicles were largely not operational. In the inspected years, less than 43% of the tanks were operational. One of the recovery tanks was not able to operate for even 3.5 years, which is almost a fifth of its life time.

It would bring savings if the Army itself was more involved in the repair and maintenance of armored vehicles. But it does not have enough capacity for that. Most service services are provided by external suppliers. Abroad, the trend is the opposite. The aim is to use external services only for specialized components.

When purchasing equipment and maintenance services, the Ministry of Defense used an exception from the Public Procurement Act or a negotiated procedure without publication in all audited cases. The fact that the contract prices are adequate was proved by expert opinions.

These assessments, for example, supported an increase in the price of Wheeled Armored Command Post and Communications Vehicles by 60% compared to the assumptions, specifically from 1.3 billion crowns to 2 billion crowns. For the framework agreement for three years of service support for Infantry Fighting Vehicles and for Armored Personnel Carriers, the Ministry of Defense increased the price by 795 million crowns, which is 270% compared to the previous framework agreement.

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The inspectors found shortcomings when planning investments. The MoD did not have clearly defined Army’s needs with which to work when planning expenditures. The numbers of equipment, the amount of funds and the deadlines differed in different documents. In addition, the completion of the investment was delayed.

The inspectors also found that the Ministry of Defense spent inefficiently almost 86 million crowns on technical modifications to one armored vehicle. This was to be used for reconnaissance during a foreign mission. But technical modifications eventually led to overloading the vehicle. Therefore, the weapon system had to be changed and the number of soldiers who operate the weapon while conducting reconnaissance had to be reduced. The Army has made other adjustments to reduce the weight of the vehicle. In the end, it was not in operation for a total of 6.5 months and the Army did not use it for foreign missions.


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