PRAGUE --- The Czech Defence Ministry officially starts to select the supplier of new infantry armoured vehicles (BVP) for more than 50 billion crowns (2.25 billion U.S. dollars) among four bidders, said its spokesman Jakub Fajnor on Friday.
He said this will be the ever biggest Czech arms deal.
Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar will inform the government about the purchase plan at its meeting on Monday. The Ministry will contact four previously selected firms to submit their bids, and it will sign the contract in August 2019. The potential bidders are BAE Systems, General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), PSM and Rheinmetall Landsysteme.
The new tracked fighting vehicles will replace Czech military's outdated Russian ones. The military seeks the purchase of 210 vehicles made in seven different variants including a basic, command, reconnaissance, artillery observation, sapper, recovery and ambulance ones.
According to Fajnor, a contract with the selected supplier should be signed in August 2019, and then the vehicles will be delivered gradually from 2020 to 2025. He said the ministry expects the vehicles will serve at least 30 years in the army. (1 U.S. dollar =22.176 crowns)