WARSAW, Poland — Lt. Gen. Ales Opata, the chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, has unveiled plans by the country to spend 100 billion koruna (U.S. $4.5 billion) on what he called the largest military modernization program in the Czech Republic’s history.
By 2027, the Czech military is to acquire 210 infantry fighting vehicles, 50 self-propelled howitzers, 12 multipurpose helicopters, two transport aircraft, and short-range air defense systems and combat drones, among other materiel. The purchases are to allow the Czech Armed Forces to replace a decisive share of its Soviet-designed gear.
“Soldiers must feel that the Czech military budget is rising, and that the situation is starting to improve,” Opata said, as quoted in a government statement.
The government also plans to acquire new 3-D radars. However, the pending purchase of eight ELM-2084 multimission radars from Israel’s Elta Systems, a subsidiary of IAI, is currently under investigation by the Czech military police. The procedure was initiated on the request of Defence Minister Karla Slechtova amid concern over the equipment’s interoperability with NATO infrastructure.
This year, Prague’s defense expenditure is to total 58.9 billion koruna, up 12 percent compared with 2017, according to government figures.