WARSAW, Poland — Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said the government was presented this week with a plan to spend 117 billion koruna (U.S. $5 billion) to modernize the Czech Land Forces by 2026, including a 50 billion koruna acquisition of at least 210 new infantry fighting vehicles.
“I assume that the government will approve [this plan],” Stropnicky said, as reported by local news agency CTK. “This will be the first time that a clear, comprehensive investment program for the military will be suported by concrete financial means.”
The new IFVs are to replace the country’s outdated Soviet-designed BVP-2s. Local observers say the considered vehicles include the Ascod, which is offered by General Dynamics European Land Systems; BAE Systems’ CV90; Rheinmetall’s Lynx; and Puma, made by Germany’s KMW and Rheinmetall.
This said, the government is most likely to make a final decision on the IFV procurement after the country’s forthcoming parliamentary election, which is scheduled to take place on Oct. 20 and 21.
The ANO political party, which Stropnicky represents in the Cabinet, is expected to win the vote. An opinion poll published Sept. 9 by local radio broadcaster Cesky rozhlas indicates that 28.4 percent of those polled intend to vote for the ANO party, followed by the Czech Social Democratic Party, with 15.7 percent support.
In its electoral program, ANO vows to increase the Czech Republic’s military spending to 2 percent of its gross domestic product by 2024. The party also states the planned IFV acquisition is one of the “significant investments that will be carried out in the coming years”.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.