The Czech and U.S. Defence Ministers confirmed the purchase of helicopters

 14. 12. 2019      category: Army of the Czech Republic

The delegation meeting led by the Defence Ministers Lubomír Metnar and Mark Esper took place at the Pentagon on Thursday, December 12, 2019. The main topic was the purchase of 12 American helicopters of the H-1 system for the Army of the Czech Republic.

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Picture: The official reception in the building of the United States Department of Defence - Pentagon | army.cz

“We have accepted the American offer of an intergovernmental agreement to purchase 8 multipurpose UH-1Y Venom helicopters and 4 AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters and, today, we have brought this agreement to a successful end. It is an important milestone in the Czech-American relations. The new helicopters will be in the armament of our army by the end of 2023. We will acquire modern and field-tested equipment, increase combat readiness and reduce dependence on Russian equipment at the same time,” said the Minister Metnar.

“We are glad that the Czech Republic has decided to choose our helicopters. This increases its competencies and interoperability within the NATO,” said Mark Esper. 

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Picture: Signature of an intergovernmental agreement on the purchase of 8 multipurpose UH-1Y Venom helicopters and 4 AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters | army.cz

“From the perspective of our helicopter air force, this has been a decisive step into the 21st century. The army acquires new competencies, including technologies, within the H-1 system. In the future, we plan do deploy new helicopters in foreign missions,” said Aleš Opata, the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic.

The system H-1 used by the U.S. Marine Corps has shown up to be the best in the market research. The combination of Venom and Viper machines will ensure the required competencies of the army, i.e. to support ground forces, troop transport and evacuation of wounded. Moreover, both the helicopters are 85% identical in design.

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Picture: Czech and U.S. Defence Ministers immediately after the signature | army.cz

The price 14.6 billion Czech Korunas (excluding VAT) corresponds to the price at which the U.S. Army would purchase helicopters for its army.  The agreement covers not only the helicopters themselves, but also the equipment and ammunition, spare parts, training simulator and initial conversion training of pilots and technical personnel.

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Picture: The agreement covers not only the helicopters themselves, but also the equipment and ammunition, spare parts, training simulator and initial conversion training of pilots and technical personnel. | army.cz

“In this agreement we have successfully negotiated a strong involvement of the Czech industry. We asked for 30 % of the contract value and the resulting percentage is even slightly higher,” added Lubomír Metnar.

The state-owned enterprises LOM Praha and VTÚ, as well as companies Ray Service, Aero Vodochody and VR Group will participate on this contract. The relevant agreements between the companies and the company Bell have been already signed. 

 Author: Jan Pejšek