Minister of Defence Černochová will get acquainted with the state of the 7th Mechanised Brigade tomorrow
The new Minister of Defence Jana Černochová will visit the 7th Mechanised Brigade in Hranice tomorrow, where she will get acquainted with the armament, current tasks and plans of the brigade for 2022 as well as the base's infrastructure.
Picture: Minister of Defence Černochová will visit the 7th Mechanised Brigade tomorrow (illustration photo) | Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic
The 7th Mechanised Brigade is often called "forgotten" among the soldiers, and unfortunately, this description is quite apt. The brigade still has outdated BVP-2 tracked armoured vehicles, which are often kept in the required condition only thanks to the maximum effort of army mechanics. The brigade's tanks are not much better. Although the main T-72M4 CZ battle tanks are awaiting technical evaluation (the contract was concluded on 14 September 2020), which is to take place by the end of 2025, these tanks have already passed their best years and the brigade deserves new tanks.
One of the biggest disappointments of recent years is definitely the inability to bring the tender for the purchase of new tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles for the 7th Mechanised Brigade to a successful conclusion. The brigade really needs the new IFVs, whether to ensure the defence capability of the Czech Republic or to fulfil its commitments to the Alliance within the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). At the end of last year, we asked the then director of the Ministry of Defence's Communications Department, Jan Pejšek, about the current status of the tender for the new IFVs, who told us the following: "Of the strategic modernisation projects that have been launched, this is the only one that did not manage to conclude a contract before the elections. There are several reasons for the delay, the main ones being the reduction of the MoD budget and the impossibility of personal negotiations and postponement of the tests of the offered IFVs due to the covid-19 pandemic. Even so, the project has reached an advanced stage and the new management of the ministry should decide what the next steps will be.“ Therefore, the new leadership of the Ministry of Defence will decide on the further resolution of the situation regarding the purchase of new IFVs for the Army. It remains to be seen whether the tender in question, at least in its modified form, will go ahead.
Picture: Minister of Defence Jana Černochová | Jana Černochová archive
The Minister of Defence Jana Černochová will visit the 7th Mechanised Brigade "Dukelská" in Hranice this Friday, 7 January 2022, where she will be accompanied by the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, Army Gen. Aleš Opata, Commander of the Ground Forces of the Army of the Czech Republic, Maj. Gen. Ladislav Jung and the command of the 7th Mechanised Brigade, the Minister will be acquainted with the armament, current tasks and plans of the brigade for 2022 as well as the immovable infrastructure of the base.
She will probably get acquainted with the current, not very optimistic state of the brigade. It is then a question of how much the army's procurement will be able to move forward under her leadership. Černochová will have to make the negotiating conditions all the more difficult when we look at the current situation, when the Czech Republic is heavily indebted and literally every crown in the state budget is expected to be fought over. However, it is necessary to be tough and uncompromising against the possible threat of cuts to the defence budget, which was confirmed last year by former Defence Minister Metnar, who defended and defended the defence budget in every possible way.
On the basis of Jana Černochová's previous performances as Chair of the Defence Committee, it is likely that she will not be a "silent voice" in the background, but will uncompromisingly defend our Army and its needs.
7th Mechanised Brigade
Our heavy brigade consists of the 71st Mechanised Battalion (71st mpr), 72nd Mechanised Battalion (72nd mpr), 73rd Tank Battalion (73rd tpr) and 74th Mechanised Battalion (74th mpr).
The basic structure of the 71st mpr consists of a headquarters, three mechanised companies with BVP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, a mortar battery with towed 120mm mortars M. 82, a command company, a logistics company and a dressing station.
The basic structure of the 72nd mpr is identical to the 71st mechanized battalion. Thus, the headquarters, three mechanized companies with BVP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, a command company, a logistics company, a dressing station and a mortar battery, which has not only towed mortars but also a 120mm self-propelled PRAM mortar.
The organisational structure of the 73rd tpr consists of a headquarters, three tank companies armed with T-72 M4CZ tanks, a mechanised company with BVP-2 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, a command company, a logistics company and a dressing station.
The last unit, the 74th mpr, differed from the other units of the 7th Mechanised Brigade in its armament. It was armed with reconnaissance versions of Pandur II wheeled armoured personnel carriers and IVECO light multi-purpose vehicles. It also differed in part by the weapons of its members (pistols, sniper rifles, etc.). At present, this battalion is being transformed into a mechanised battalion of the heavy type and as such is to be the first to be armed with the new Infantry Fighting Vehicles. However, it still does not have these at present.