U.S. attack helicopters are coming to the Czech Republic in a major upgrade for the country’s military.
The Czech Defense Ministry approved the purchase of eight multipurpose UH-1Y Venom helicopters and four AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters from the United States worth 14.6 billion korunas (€570 million) and wants to sign the contract by the end of the year.
At the end of June, the Czech Republic considered two offers for the purchase of helicopters from the U.S. government.
The first offer included multipurpose Venom helicopters and Viper combat helicopters, while the second one involved the purchase of the 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for 13.2 billion korunas (€528 million). However, the Viper and Venom models were recommended to the Czech Army by an expert commission.
Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar then confirmed that the Czech army should receive all the machines in 2023.
According to Metnar, the defense ministry preferred the safest and most transparent contract. As a result, the Czech Republic will receive the helicopters at the same price as the U.S. military would.
In addition to the helicopters, the contract includes equipment with weapons systems and ammunition, as well as maintenance and staff training. Metnar added that the order allows participation of the Czech defense industry in the production of the helicopters up to more than 30 percent.
“Our military needs the new helicopters, we need to replace the current Mi-24 ones, which will be useless soon,” said Metnar.
The Communist Party, however, had reservations about the purchase of U.S. helicopters. Metnar refused to address this issue. According to him, the purchase of the helicopters is a formalized process that has clear benefits and is not a political question.