Czech US Russia armament diplomacy November 12 2019 - 7:43 PM

Czech army to spend $630 mln on US-made helicopters Prague, Nov 12, 2019 (AFP) - NATO member the Czech Republic said Tuesday it would buy 12 helicopters from the United States in a bid to replace obsolete Russian-made Mi-24 aircraft. The deal between the Czech and US governments worth 14.6 billion koruna (570 million euros, $630 million) would be formally signed this year, Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar said in a statement. The Czech army will buy eight UH-1Y Venom multi-purpose helicopters and four combat AH-1Z Viper helicopters, his ministry said. Having shed communism in 1989, the Czech Republic joined NATO a decade later and has since been focused on upgrading outdated Soviet-era military equipment in order to meet alliance standards. "The army needs new helicopters. The sooner we get rid of our dependence on Russian technology, the better," Metnar said. "This is why we want to sign the deal this year so we could have the equipment by 2023." The price includes ammunition, spare parts, a training simulator and training, the ministry said. The choppers are manufactured by Bell Helicopters, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. frj/mas/dl

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