WARSAW — The Czech Ministry of Defense has invited producers from other NATO member states to supply offers for the delivery of 12 multipurpose helicopters for the Czech military with the aim to replace its outdated Soviet-designed helos. Other plans include the acquisition of new transport aircraft to significantly increase the Czech Air Force's air transport capability, the ministry said in a statement.

"In the field of helicopters, it is our priority to buy 12 multipurpose helicopters to replace the Mi-24s and Mi-35s, which currently don't comply with the requirements for deployment to foreign military missions," Col. Jiri Vavra, the director of the ministry's Air Force Development and Planning Department, said. "By 2025, we are also expecting to purchase two medium-size transport aircraft, which will significantly increase our air transport capability [and] enable the transport of vehicles and major gear."

The Czech government has announced it will intensify its efforts to replace Soviet- and Russian-made military gear with weapons and equipment supplied by NATO member states following Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine.

The new transport aircraft are to replace the Czech military's Yakovlev Yak-40 planes. The Mil Mi-24 and Mi-35 helicopters are built by Russia's state-run Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant.