The Visegrad Group alliance between Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia is looking to make joint military equipment purchases together, a step that would deepen integration between the already close allies.
Czech Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar suggests that, as part of the joint purchase of military equipment, the Visegrad Group states should start with buying ammunition.
If the Visegrad Group countries follow through with the purchase of at least one bullet, it will be a success, declared politicians from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary during Wednesday’s meeting.
After Czech Minister Metnar proposed to buy ammunition in the first wave of joint purchases of military equipment, all Visegrad countries sent a list of ammunition they propose to purchase to the Czech Ministry of Defense.
At the moment, Czech authorities are currently analyzing these lists and looking for possible intersections in the proposals.
“There is a consensus on the acquisition of small arms ammunition,” said Lubor Koudelka, director of the Armaments and Acquisition Division at the Ministry of Defense.
By June 2020, the Visegrad Four states, which have previously cooperated on buying police equipment, are to decide on the appropriate type of ammunition to purchase. Although the Ministry of Defense previously mentioned the possibility of buying ammunition for artillery or tanks, a purchase of a different kind of ammunition is more likely to happen.
Deputy Minister of Defense Radomír Jahoda estimated that the purchase is likely to be worth billions of korunas. If the cooperation in joint purchase proves successful, V4 countries could also buy more expensive equipment in the future.
For example, V4 defense ministers spoke about upgrading tanks and buying small firearms.
According to Jana Černochová, the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Committee on Defense, the Visegrad Group could also cooperate within the air force structures.
“Within five years, we should decide whether we continue to use Gripen fighters or buy other jets. Currently, Slovakia and Poland also debate on the future of their military aircraft,” Černochová said while discussing where the four countries’ future national interests could intersect.
The Czech Ministry of Defense further considers the possibility of the joint purchase of drones, which is something that also interests the Polish politician Bogdan Zdrojewski. However, Zdrojewski points out that while joint purchases may contribute to cost reductions, it will be difficult to bring this venture to a successful end.