The Czech military will buy eight MADR 3D mobile radars from Israel for 3.5 billion crowns on the basis of an intergovernmental contract that Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) signed. The radars will be supplied continuously until 2023. The military will get the first ones within 20 months.
Based on the contract, the Czech industry will participate in the procurement at least in 30 percent.
After signing the contract, Metnar said the new radars would considerably increase the Czech military's ability to protect airspace.
He highlighted that Czech soldiers would gain the equipment that had been tested in fighting. He also stressed the Czech industry's participation in the contract and support for the new radars.
"Czech soldiers urgently need this equipment. We will end our dependance on the outdated Russian devices and at the same time, gain a state-of-the-art system, tried and tested in fighting, from our significant strategic partner," Metnar said.
There is no doubt that the new radars can be connected to the NATO system, he added.
The new equipment will replace the outdated Russian radars whose lifespan has expired.
The MADR radars to be supplied by the Elta Systems Israeli state enterprise will enable the military to keep a survey of the situation at the altitudes from 100 to 3,000 metres.
The Military Technical Institute and the Retia firm will participate in the contract on the Czech side, which signed agreements on industrial cooperation with Elta today.
Elta Systems general director Yoav Tourgeman said they had pledged to bring know-how to the local industry. He said the cooperation would include design, production, assembly, integration, maintenance during the lifespan and the transfer of the latest technologies.
The contract will open space to further cooperation between the Czech and Israeli defence industries, he added.
Metnar and Yair Kulas, the director of the Israeli Defence Ministry' International Defense Cooperation Directorate, also stressed today that the commission would further strengthen the strategic cooperation between the Czech Republic and Israel.
Kulas said that this contract closed the circle, starting with Czech supplies of weapons to the new State of Israel, which had helped it defend its existence in the late 1940s.
The acquisition of radars was accompanied by problems and their purchase was delayed by a few years.
The Czech military has warned that the lifespan of the currently used radars expired long time ago and they are on the verge of inoperability.
Former defence minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO), the current ambassador to Israel, said before he left the post that the contract was prepared for signing.
His successor Karla Slechtova (for ANO) said last year that the Defence Ministry's inspection had found out serious shortcomings in the so far incomplete tenders, and this was why she turned to the military police. The purchase of radars was among the suspicious contracts.
Last year, Metnar scrapped the tender for radars due to doubts and he proposed that the Czech defence buy the radars directly from the Israeli government. The military police shelved the suspicion in June.