WARSAW, Poland — The Czech Republic is planning to buy additional UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters for its military, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated the country’s existing fleet is “insufficient,” according to Defense Minister Jana Černochová.
“At the Ministry of Defence, we have all the prerequisites to catch up in terms of defense spending as soon as possible,” Černochová was quoted in a statement released by the ministry. The minister was referring to plans by Prague to increase its military expenditure to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in line with its commitment to NATO.
During her recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Černochová discussed the ministry’s interest in purchasing additional helicopters made by Bell Helicopters “because it turns out the 12 machines that the Czech military will receive next year are insufficient due to the current situation” in Ukraine, according to the statement.
The number of the copters that the Czech Republic aims to acquire was not disclosed. However, local industry observers expect Prague to purchase a further 12 helos on top of its first order.
In 2019, the Czech government decided to buy eight UH-1Y Venom and four AH-1Z Viper helos with related gear and services under a deal worth about 14.5 billion koruna (US $645 million).
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.