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Czech Republic - Land Forces Modernization

The Czech military is replacing its outdated wheeled armored personnel carriers and tracked armored infantry fighting vehicles with a new set of wheeled armoured vehicles in several versions. The Czech Army intends to increase the fighting capacity of its ground forces, in homeland defence and on deployed operations, and is preparing the procurement of wheeled armoured vehicles in a range of fighting and specialised configurations, i.e. wheeled fighting vehicles and wheeled armoured personnel carriers. On the basis of the operational structure of the Czech Army, derived from the transition to a professional army, it was determined that 199 wheeled armoured vehicles in a range of configurations are required. The MoD would like to have the option to increase this number by 35 vehicles.

Because the Pandur contract was launched by CSSD-led governments in 2003-2006, then canceled and renegotiated by an ODS-led government in 2007-2009, both parties were vulnerable to accusations. Both firmly denied wrongdoing while trying to shift blame to the other side. Reacting to charges that the price of the renegotiated contract was suspiciously higher than the original cost -- and considerably more than the per-vehicle cost of Portugal's Pandur contract -- Defense Minister Bartak's MoD issued detailed press releases. These statements argue that differences in the number of Pandur variants, contract terms and vehicle features, the impact of logistical support and training, and the role of industrial offsets account for the increased per-vehicle cost.

The MoD must ensure that the Czech economy benefits from the acquisition of the wheeled fighting vehicles and wheeled armoured personnel carriers. This task, among others, can be derived from the Resolution of the Government dated 5 January 2005 no. 9 on principles of implementation of industrial co-operation programmes (offset programmes) as well as from the Decree no. 3/2005 of the Minister of Industry and Trade on implementation of industrial co-operation programs. Implementation of offset programmes represents one of the requirements posed on bidders in this procurement. In the 2011 White Paper the Ministry of Defence identified the following measures to be adopted:

  1. gradually decommission the tracked infantry fighting vehicles (BMPs). Regarding their technical parameters, retain the BMP2 in active service till the end of their life span (20182020). The decision to either modernize or replace the BMP1 shall be made no later than the end of 2013;
  2. preserve the capability of the tank battalion till the end of its life span (approx. 2025), and consider the usefulness of its further development. Sell off the stored inactive tanks as soon as possible;
  3. reassess mobilisation needs, primarily retain and develop the Host Nation Support (HNS), i.e. capacities for the operational preparation of the territory to receive allied support; and dispose of, as soon as possible, all redundant material;
  4. by the middle of 2012, find appropriate ways of using the Biological Protection Centre in Techonn (sharing its capacities with other ministries or organizations involved in the Czech security system or in the framework of international cooperation), or shut it down and invest the saved resources in development of the CBRN Defence Centre.

In a meeting on 17 December 2018, Minister Lubomir Metnar apprised the Czech Government of upcoming defence acquisition public tender plans for the Czech Armed Forces.

  • Tracked infantry fighting vehicles [Psov bojov vozidla pechoty] - It is the largest modernisation project in the Czech armed forces history. The Army of the Czech Republic will concentrate in the following years on the replacement of BVP-2 infantry combat vehicles. BAE Systems developed cooperation with 20 Czech companies in the development of CZ90CZ. The Austro-Austrian ASCOD vehicle was dressed in a fawning green Czech masking print. "Third in rank" was a novelty in the field of infantry combat vehicles - German Lynx from Rheinmetall. Not on such an honorable spot, was the BVP Puma (PSM) of the German Army. The Ministry of Defence was to invite four selected manufactures to present their bids to supply 210 pieces of tracked infantry fighting vehicles in seven different versions. The successful contract should be signed in August 2019, and the vehicles will subsequently be delivered between the years 2020 and 2025. Their life-span is expected to be 30 years.
  • Wheeled armored personnel carriers - The contract for delivery of 62 TITUS type armored personnel carriers was to be signed before April 2019 with ELDIS Pardubice s.r.o., a Czech manufacturer that has both a production licence and security clearance. Delivery was also expected between 2020 and 2025.
  • Small arms - A Czech manufacturer, Ceska zbrojovka, based in Uhersky Brod, will deliver up to 14,000 attack rifles and 20,000 pistols. The contract will be signed in March 2019. The cost of these three projects is expected to exceed CZK 50 billion (excl. of VAT).

"This governments priority, as well as mine, is to significantly strengthen the long-term security and defence capability of the Czech Republic. This can only be achieved by accomplishing these important armaments projects," said Minister Metnar and continued, "In our endeavour to modernise our military and its equipment, we are, at the same time, maintaining and supporting our domestic defence industry".

Chief of the General Staff General Ales Opata also expressed his wholehearted support for the upcoming acquisitions. "The procurement of this new equipment will be the key to taking our armed forces to a level that will meet the challenges of the 21st century. It will also necessitate decommissioning our obsolete materiel to comply with current NATO standards," said General Opata.

The Czech Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on June 4, 2020 that Czech Army is planning to replace its old Dana 152 mm 8x8 wheeled self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) that do not meet current NATO requirements with the French-made CAESAR 155 mm self-propelled artillery systems. The new self-propelled howitzerss will be assigned to a heavy armored brigade that will have been established by 2026. The Nexter Caesar has been down-selected, following the evaluation of eight modern artillery weapons. The artillery system will employ a Tatra T-815 88 carrier and the final assembly of the guns would be conducted in the Czech Republic. The Czech MoD is planning to allocate CZK5.95 billion (EUR245 million) for the procurement of the abovementioned artillery systems. According to the ministry, the delivery of the CAESAR guns is scheduled for 2022-2026.

After 2025, the Czech Army will begin to deal with the replacement of T-72M4CZ tanks. Nowadays Leopard 2 refurbished tanks can be cheaply leased. However, the offer is limited by the number of available tanks - at present only about a hundred Leopard 2 tanks are available. By 2025 only new and therefore expensive Leopard 2 tanks can be bought. For example, if the Czech Army wants to arm two tank battalions (2 30 tanks), the cost will easily exceed one billion dollars, ie more than CZK 24 billion. GDELS offers a light tank on ASCOD 2 chassis and sooner or later Czechs must replace obsolete T-72M4CZ with a new design (but is a light tank a good choice?)

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Page last modified: 06-06-2021 18:20:02 ZULU