WARSAW, Poland — The Czech Ministry of Defence has signed a deal to acquire the Spyder surface-to-air missile systems made by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The contract is worth 13.69 billion koruna (US$627 million), the ministry said in a statement.

Czech Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar said the purchase would enable Prague to replace its outdated, Soviet-designed 2K12 Kub surface-to-air systems with modern military technology.

“I appreciate the willingness of the Israeli government to share with us a state-of-the-art defense system that will move our military towards 21st century capabilities,” Metnar said, as quoted in the statement. “Finally, we will get rid of our dependence on the Soviet Kub [systems] from the 1970s which do not meet the current requirements for airspace protection.”

Under the contract, the Czech defense industry will take part in the program, supplying products and services worth more than 30 percent of its value.

The Czech Armed Forces are expected to operate the supplied systems for at least 20 years. Combined with the costs of maintenance and repairs, the acquisition will cost the country’s budget about 23 billion koruna, or $1 billion, according to the statement.

Deliveries of the four launchers are scheduled to be completed by 2026, the ministry said.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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