Czech Defence Minister and United States Secretary of Defense Signed the Helicopter Contract
(Source: Czech Ministry of Defence; issued Dec. 16, 2019)
On Thursday 12 December 2019, delegations led by Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar and Defence Secretary Mark Esper met in the Pentagon. Their primary agenda included the procurement of twelve U.S. made H-1 system helicopters for the Czech Armed Forces.

“We accepted the U.S. offer of a government-to-government contract for the procurement of eight UH-1Y Venom multirole and four AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and today we are finally signing the contract. It is an important milestone in the Czech-US relations. We will obtain modern and combat proven machines, increase our capabilities and reduce our dependence on Russian made equipment at the same time,” Minister Metnar stated.

“We are pleased that the Czech Republic chose our helicopters. They will increase the Czech Armed Forces’ capabilities and interoperability in NATO,” Secretary Esper said.

From the perspective of the Czech Air Force helicopter fleet, this is a decisive step into the 21st century. With the acquisition of the H-1 system, the Czech Armed Forces obtains new capabilities including technology. We have plans envisioning deployment of the new helicopters in the future,” said General Aleš Opata, the Chief of General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces.

The H-1 system used by the U.S. Marine Corps came out best from a market sounding study. This combination of Venom and Viper aircraft best meets the capabilities required for close air support, airlift and medical evacuation. In addition, both designs have 85% commonality.

The price of CZK 14.6 billion (excl. VAT) (approx. $640 million—Ed.)
is the same as the one for which the United States Government would buy those helicopters for the U.S. armed forces. The contract is not just for the helos as such, but also weapons and ammunition, spare parts, a training simulator as well as type training for both pilots and ground specialist personnel.

We have again managed to negotiate a high involvement of the Czech industry. Our demand was for 30% of the contract value and the resulting percentage is even slightly higher, Minister Metnar commented.

The performance of the contract will involve the LOM Praha and VTÚ state enterprises, and Ray Service, Aero Vodochody and VR Group companies. The relevant agreements between those firms and the Bell Corporation were already signed.


Czech Republic Signs Letter of Offer and Acceptance for Mixed Fleet of AH-1Z and UH-1Y
(Source: Bell Helicopter; issued Dec. 13, 2019)
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and Czech Republic Minister of Defence, Lubomir Metnar, signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance finalizing the foreign military sale by Bell Textron Inc. of H-1 helicopters to the Czech Air Force.

“We are privileged to support the Czech people and applaud the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of the Czech Republic for selecting AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters,” said Vince Tobin, Executive Vice President of Bell’s Military Business.

The H-1 mixed fleet shares 85-percent commonality between parts, reducing the logistics, maintenance, and training costs of the AH-1Z and UY-1Y helicopters while offering a lethal combination of integrated weapons systems to counter ground, air, and maritime targets effectively. The AH-1Z is the only helicopter in production equipped with the AIM-9 Sidewinder providing the most advanced air-to-air combat capabilities.

“This mix allows the Czech Republic to accomplish a diverse mission set, from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to close air support and air-to-air warfare,” said Joel Best, Director of Military Sales and Strategy, Europe. “The advanced capabilities of the H-1 program help ensure the safety and security of Czech sons and daughters for years to come.”

The purchase of four AH-1Z and eight UH-1Y military helicopters represents the first foreign military sale of a mixed H-1 fleet. Bell anticipates the delivery of the first H-1 aircraft to the Czech Republic will begin in 2023 and complete delivery by 2024.


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