Czech Industry will Have a Significant Share in the New SPYDER Air Defence System
In the extreme case, the loss of control over one’s own airspace can also mean the loss of state sovereignty, with all the consequences for our security. Therefore, ensuring effective defence of the airspace is one of the main priorities of the Ministry of Defence in the ongoing modernization of our army.
The most significant project of modernization of our army’s air defence assets is the acquisition of a new short- and medium-range air defence missile kit (SHORAD) with an estimated value of approximately CZK 10 billion.
Picture: The currently acquired, modern air defence complex SPYDER, manufactured by the Israeli state-owned company Rafael, will replace the outdated Soviet KUB system from the mid-1980s | Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic
The modern air defence missile system is a guarantee of highly effective protection of the airspace of the Czech Republic, its critical infrastructure (e.g. civil and industrial centres, power plants, water resources, etc.) and also provides defence against a range of air attacks, including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles or cruise missiles. Together with the fighter aircraft and reconnaissance and radar means, they form the main backbone of the state’s air defence.
The currently acquired, modern air defence complex SPYDER, manufactured by the Israeli state-owned company Rafael, will replace the outdated Soviet KUB system from the mid-1980s and will bring a fundamental change in the army’s ability to effectively defend airspace over the Czech Republic.
The acquisition is just the beginning
However, the acquisition of 4 batteries of the SPYDER system, from a partner who is reliable and open to foreign cooperation, is only the first step. An equally important part of the project is the contractual provision of the necessary technical support for the entire period of its use.
Only the domestic defence industry can provide such comprehensive support for the army directly on the territory of the Czech Republic safely, economically and efficiently for the state, especially in the event of a deterioration of the security situation or the emergence of a sudden crisis. Therefore, its involvement already in the initial phase of negotiations is an essential condition of the Ministry of Defence and will be part of the contractual relationship with a foreign supplier.
In short, the goal of the Ministry of Defence is not only to ensure at least 30% share of Czech industry when acquiring the system, but at the same time, through a parallel negotiated service contract, to secure its decisive share in the future industrial support of new technology for the entire period of its life cycle in the horizon of twenty or more years.
Support and development of the Czech industrial base
Simultaneously with the solution of technical issues related to the acquired SPYDER CZE complex, a number of work meetings were held between the MoD negotiating team and the Israeli representatives, in compliance with epidemiological measures, in the area of ensuring contractual conditions for industrial cooperation.
With the aim of supporting and developing the Czech industrial base, the meeting was also attended by representatives of the main Czech industrial partner chosen by the supplier, RETIA a.s., and representatives of the departmental state enterprise Military Technical Institute. Mutual cooperation was very welcomed and supported by representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Defence and the Rafael company.
In January and February 2021, representatives of Rafael and RETIA a.s. attended several bilateral meetings with representatives of dozens of selected Czech companies, including virtual tours of their operations. Through videoconferences, further meetings were held with the joint participation of representatives of the Armaments and Acquisitions Section and the Industrial Cooperation Section of the Ministry of Defence, the Association of the Defence and Security Industry, the Czech Chamber of Commerce, and RETIA a.s. and representatives of state enterprises of the MoD.
The advantage of the planned procedure
For the Czech industry, the acquisition of an advanced and highly sophisticated air defence weapon system and its long-term support will mean both access to the latest technologies and new opportunities for further development of foreign cooperation. This will mainly concern technical fields with high added value and fast economic returns, in which Czech companies and research institutes have rich experience and a potential for further development. Another important factor of industrial support and its long-term development is also the planned transfer of know-how for all key components of SPYDER CZE batteries.
In this way, the implementation of the strategic project of the Ministry of Defence “Air defence set SHORAD” can significantly and in the long run contribute to the development of the industrial base of the Czech Republic and become a significant contribution and benefit to future support of the domestic economy.
The decisive share of domestic companies in ensuring the operation of new technology will be the best guarantee of safe and reliable operation of the new air defence system, which is really of strategic importance for the security of the Czech Republic.