BRNO, Czech Republic — The Czech ministry of defense has confirmed that it will spend $120 million on the procurement of 48 long-range, air-to-air missiles made by Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael Systems.
The contract, which will see Prague acquire the I-Derby ER missile type by 2027, is expected to be signed by the end of the month, the defense ministry said, as quoted by local news agency ČTK on Oct. 25.
The new missiles for the Czech Armed Forces are to complement the Spyder short-range air defense system, purchased in 2021 and also made by Rafael. This earlier agreement includes the delivery of four ground-based launchers by 2026.
According to the ministry, the latest deal for Derby missiles will involve the participation of Czech companies in the provision of missile containers, integrated logistical support and information systems.
“The supplier [Rafael] undertook to account for at least the equivalent of $14 million in the Czech Republic,” the ministry stated.
The Czech Republic recently published a defense strategy that outlined new modernization objectives. The document proclaimed a focus on territorial defense and a plan to strengthen the domestic industry while accelerating procurements.
The objectives were a focus of the GSOF Symposium event held here Oct. 24-26.
“In relation to our 2030 military development plan, the systems we are buying now risk being obsolete by then,” Col. Jiri Hrazdil, director of the capability planning department at the Czech Armed Forces, told the audience.
The news that Prague has opted to buy Israeli missiles came on the day that Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala was visiting his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Tel Aviv, weeks after Hamas terrorists from Gaza swarmed southern Israel in a killing and kidnapping spree.
“The Czech Republic has been a very, very strong supporter of Israel throughout good and dark times,” Netanyahu told Fiala. “This is our darkest hour and we appreciate the fact that you are standing here.”
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.