Slovak and Czech companies on the road to deeper defence cooperation
The question of whether it is possible to expect a deepening of Czech-Slovak defence cooperation is becoming more and more topical in the light of recent days. On 20 October, a presentation of Czech defence and security industry companies took place in Bratislava, also in the presence of Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď. The aim of the meeting was to find areas where Czech and Slovak companies could cooperate with each other.
The presentation of Czech companies from the defence and security industry took place within the framework of the Project for the Promotion of Economic Diplomacy (PROPED). Under the auspices and in the presence of the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Slovakia, Mr. Tomáš Tuhý, a total of 8 Czech companies presented themselves. The presentation was attended by the Minister of Defence Jaroslav Naď, Minister of the Interior Roman Mikulec, Deputy Minister of Defence Radka Konderlová, representatives of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, the Presidium of the Police Corps of the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic as well as representatives of the Association of Defence and Security Industry and the Association of Security and Defence Industry of the Slovak Republic and others. The aim of the whole event was to identify the possibilities of cooperation between Czech and Slovak companies and to present to the Slovak side novelties from the production of Czech companies.
The fact that industrial cooperation in the field of defence and security technologies makes sense is evidenced by the words of the Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic Jaroslav Naď. In his contribution to the presentation, he said that he is a supporter of cooperation between the two countries, especially in the field of defence and security. At the same time, Jaroslav Naď emphasised that the basis of good cooperation is not only the closeness of the two nations, but also the mutual benefits of cooperation. Tibor Straka, President of the Association of Security and Defence Industry of the Slovak Republic, also positively assessed the meeting and said that he was convinced that both countries had a lot to offer in terms of common development and profit opportunities. Both countries consider each other as key partners.
Possible examples of cooperation
First of all, the meeting should be evaluated positively. Both countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, offer quality defence and security technologies and products and could better promote themselves on foreign markets through mutual cooperation. It also opens up opportunities in the development and production of new systems and technologies that could be of interest to the armies of both countries in the future. There are several areas where the two countries can cooperate today. As Petr Darmovzal, an economic diplomat at the Czech Embassy in Bratislava, informs, the two countries could cooperate within the framework of the European Defence Fund, but also in projects within NATO or the V4 countries. For example, the Czech Republic is already cooperating with Italy in the PESCO project "Antidrone Defence". The aim is to create a system to serve as a defence against very small and small unmanned aerial vehicles. By involving Slovakia in this project, Slovak companies in the field of drones and advanced technologies would participate in the development of this system and, if successful, export opportunities could open up for companies from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This step would also contribute to the development of research and development of advanced technologies in Slovakia, which the current leadership of the Slovak Ministry of Defence considers important.
Picture: Both countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, offer quality defence and security technologies and products and could better promote themselves on foreign markets through mutual cooperation | Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic
In addition to cooperation on multinational projects, both countries are currently focusing on the modernisation of their own armed forces. There is also scope for cooperation in this area. Both Slovakia and the Czech Republic are obliged, as part of their commitments to their allies, to have a heavy mechanised brigade, and it will therefore be necessary to purchase not only new infantry fighting vehicles, but also, very probably, new tanks. The Comprehensive Defence Assessment of the Slovak Republic for 2020 points out that the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic lack in particular modern weapon systems, tanks or armoured fighting vehicles. The purchase of new tanks is also envisaged in the Concept of the Czech Army Construction 2030. Since both countries are counting on the purchase of new tanks, cooperation in the creation of supply chains can be discussed. At the same time, a joint approach to purchasing tanks could reduce their overall price and create a stable supply chain within the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Of course, there are many more possible areas of cooperation. Both countries have set modernisation targets and are implementing several modernisation projects in which both Slovak and Czech companies can participate. It is important to look for those areas where cooperation between Czech and Slovak defence and security industry companies would be beneficial. Support for research and development also plays an indispensable role, which, together with cooperation between Czech and Slovak defence industry companies, can bring success on foreign markets.