CSG: Even the best cannon is useless without ammunition

May 24, 2023  /  11:20 AM

Czechoslovak Group's display is one of the largest at the expo, and this giant holding boasts a comprehensive portfolio of products and defense equipment. Among the most requested in recent times are drone jammers and large-caliber ammunition; additional sales hits are Tatra chassis vehicles for both army and firefighters. We interviewed Czechoslovak Group and Tatra spokesman Andrej Čírtek at the stand in Hall P on the very first day.

What is new about your display and what have you prepared for IDET 2023?

Our display is, if I may say so, traditionally the largest stand at IDET. As always, we have brought several pieces of equipment. This is the Titus vehicle on a Tatra chassis, which is currently being delivered to the Czech Army as a liaison vehicle for firing control. We have brought in the Treva 30 recovery system, which again thanks to the Tatra chassis can get a damaged or stalled vehicle out of even the most difficult terrain. In addition to the vehicles, we have also imported a sophisticated comprehensive anti-drone protection solution. It is the ReCas system developed by RETIA. It consists of both a jammer and an optical sensor, a passive sensor that monitors the drone's transmissions, as well as an active radar. It also has a means of jamming the radar, both manual and a larger static one. Rarely is a drone protection system presented in such a comprehensive way. RETIA has also developed a unique software solution to go with it, which brings all these elements together. As another exhibit, I would like to highlight the self-propelled Morana howitzer with a caliber of 155 mm, which is perhaps the only piece of equipment in this category that despite its colossal size can be operated by a crew of two. And finally, although you asked about IDET, I'll jump to the next fair, PYROS, where we are presenting the debut of a new generation of the basic type range of Tatra vehicle manufacturer, namely the new generation of the Tatra Force vehicle in red version for firefighters. It is a vehicle that is again a significant upgrade from the previous generation in terms of cabin equipment, ergonomics and crew protection. Of course, we have also improved the legendary Tatra chassis and we look forward to presenting all this to visitors.

Let me ask you for a comparison, what changes has the war in Ukraine meant for your company?

It really changed the global security environment overnight and created a huge demand for all sorts of military material. Whether it's technology, whether it's drones, whether it's air defense systems or drone defense. And what is extremely important and what is in great shortage is ammunition, especially large-calibre ammunition. This is another part of our exposition, we present here the ammunition that we produce in Slovakia and also in Spain, and although it doesn't seem like it, even a single piece of ammunition is a highly complex product that consists of tens of different components. Even the best cannon would be useless without ammunition.

Where is the ammunition manufactured?

We manufacture ammunition within our Slovakian branch, which is called MSM, and there is also Spanish production, in one of the oldest arsenals on European territory, the Fábrica de Municiones de Granada. And quite logically by its very name, it is located in a suburb of Granada in Spain.

What else is the strength of the Czechoslovak Group as a brand?

We are the largest holding of the Czech defense industry, we have a very comprehensive portfolio, which includes vehicles, howitzers, armored wheeled vehicles, but also radars, drone protection systems, software that serves as a control and command system, and we also have ammunition, which is in great demand today. We can combine all these components into unique solutions. I would like to emphasize that even though we are exhibiting here at a Czech expo, 90% of our production goes exported, and that is why we have to constantly innovate, we have to compete with huge global companies that are an order of magnitude bigger than us. And IDET is an event that helps us do that.

What are your biggest markets?

Our markets are broadly geographically diversified, we have major customers in Southeast Asia, other significant customers in the Middle East, both in the Arab world and in Israel. And, of course, we also supply NATO countries. Our reference and always preferred customer, whose needs we always put first, is the Army of the Czech Republic, which is of course the flagship user of the Tatra fleet and a number of other systems.