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The Army to purchase radars, helicopters and more Pandurs

 

In a few weeks, the Ministry of Defence will announce a tender for ten mobile 3D radars at 3.5 billion. Defence Minister Martin Stropnický (ANO) said this at a press conference on Thursday. The armed forces want to buy new helicopters, but it is not clear which category. They will also acquire twenty staff Pandurs.

The army wants to get the first radars by the end of 2017. The existing radars of Soviet production are at the end of their lifespan, do not correspond with today's demands and are faulty.

Originally, a joint purchase with Slovakia, Poland and Hungary was considered but in the end the countries have not come to an understanding. The Czech Republic therefore decided for a separate purchase. In September, the Ministry talked about announcing a tender for five radars and a subsequent purchase of another five. Now the department is going to go straight for a tender for ten radars. "We would like to get them in deliveries by 2017 at the latest. This date is still realistic, the tender documentation is being completed," said Stropnický.

An acquisition of helicopters is planned

The Army also wants to buy new helicopters because the battlefield aircraft of the Mi-24/35 series end their lifetime in 2016-2018.

"If we want to start replacing them as soon as possible, we must begin the acquisition process this year," Stropnický emphasized.

So far, the debate goes on about whether the army will get multipurpose or combat helicopters. In the past, representatives of the Ministry talked about buying only multipurpose aircraft, as the combat ones are disproportionately more expensive.

The White Paper did not foresee that the Army should have combat helicopters in the arsenal, although Czech helicopter pilots belonged to the top among the NATO countries already in the 1990’s. This view began to change after the attack on Libya which lacked attack helicopters capable of destroying enemy vehicles.

A large conflict consisting fighting large tank unions, for which this category of helicopters had been developed, is no longer likely, but the recent conflicts in Ukraine or in Syria and Iraq show that the rebels often receive armoured vehicles which must be destroyed. According to Stropnický the debate should be completed within two to three weeks. What it can be considered as sure is that these will not be Russian machines, but Western ones.

Commander Pandurs

The ministry will also buy another twenty Pandurs, which should serve as command and staff vehicles. A large contract for about 1.3 billion was directly obtained by the Austrian manufacturer Steyr who will deliver them in 2017 and 2020.

The Ministry of Defence originally considered purchasing vehicles and armoured vehicles from other manufacturers, e.g. the Vega machines from the Přelouč-based  SVOS, but the Pandurs eventually won.

According to Chief of Staff Petr Pavel they finally decided to get similar vehicles for those units who use Pandurs.  "Any difference could disqualify the entire unit, because it will then have to be guided by the weakest link, so it was logical for units that are equipped with Pandur, to purchase the vehicles with a Pandur chassis," he said to Právo.

The First Deputy Defence Minister Jiří Borovec said that the contract for the purchase of Pandurs should be announced in July.

General Pave added that it is different with other units that use the Iveco armoured vehicles. They are smaller than Pandurs and all necessary equipment for commanders and signalman – i.e. radios and computers - would not fit into them. The Army is planning to buy ten command vehicles on Tatra chassis.

One of the possible choices is SVOS Vega and the other a French vehicle Titus from Nexter. "From the military point of view these are equivalent vehicles, it will depend on the shortlist," said Pavel.

Salvage vehicles are also planned.

Source: novinky.cz

Date: 16 Jan 2015 07:59:00


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