On Monday, September 27, 2021, the Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar informed the government about the acquisition of a new ground air defense missile system SPYDER from the production of the Israeli state company Rafael for the Air Force of the Czech Army. This is a purchase in the form of an intergovernmental agreement, which is the most advantageous in terms of a high degree of security and security of supply.
"I appreciate the willingness of the Israeli government to share with us a state-of-the-art defense system that will move our military towards 21st century capabilities. Finally, we will get rid of our dependence on Soviet CUBs from the 1970s, which do not meet the current requirements for airspace protection, "stressed Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar.
Missile systems form the basic pillar of any air defense. Therefore, the acquisition of a new generation defense system is one of the main priorities of military modernization. The anti-aircraft missile system ensures continuous protection of urban agglomerations, nuclear power plants, industrial centers, airports and other important places and objects, against all means of air attack.
More than 30% involvement of Czech industry
The Ministry of Defense will pay a total of CZK 13.69 billion (537 million euros at today’s exchange rate—Ed.), including VAT, for the supply of the SPYDER system according to the specifications and needs of the Czech Army. Czech industry will be directly involved in the supply and service. The total share of the domestic industry in the fulfillment of the contract will reach more than the 30% required by the ministry from the value of the entire project.
This will provide Czech companies with new development opportunities and the army to quickly achieve full operational capabilities, as well as maintain them throughout the period of use. The main partners for the Israeli state-owned company Rafael will be the Czech companies RETIA and the state-owned company Vojenský technický ústav.
The agreed price of the new system is final and its amount has been confirmed both by internal opposition proceedings within the Ministry of Defense and by the Israeli government.
Negotiations have succeeded in reducing the price by 2 billion
"We managed to reduce the initial indicative Israeli offer by 2 billion crowns during the negotiations. On the contrary, it is clear that there must have been an increase compared to the expected value based on market research in 2016, "said Lubor Koudelka, Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions.
The current price takes into account the constant growth of prices of advanced defense technologies on the world market, the growth of inflation and the prices of all inputs, the growth of the value of highly qualified work, or the transfer of some technologies and know-how directly to the Czech Republic. If the Czech Republic were to postpone the purchase of a new missile system, the total cost to the defense budget would continue to rise over time.
Extensive negotiations took place between the Czech and Israeli parties on technical issues as well as the contractual relationship itself. The team of the Ministry of Defense was also supported by legal experts from the law firm HAVEL & PARTNERS, who, thanks to their extensive experience in international negotiations, helped the Ministry to negotiate very favorable conditions for the Czech Republic.
System for 20 and more years
The military will use the new ground air defense system for 20 years or more. Therefore, it calculated and published the expected costs for the entire period of its use in the amount of approximately CZK 23 billion, of which the amount paid to the Israeli side for the provided service support would amount to a maximum of CZK 7.5 billion including VAT. The costs of ensuring a twenty-year life cycle include not only the costs of service and maintenance, but also all other ancillary and operating costs of the Ministry of Defense, including the costs of salaries and training of soldiers, vehicle and fuel operation, or investment in real estate infrastructure.
In the preparatory period, the military assessed a total of nine ground air defense systems from seven manufacturers. It preferred the SPYDER system made by the Israeli state company Rafael as the most suitable. From the point of view of the army, it best meets its requirements and has proven itself in real combat conditions. The Ministry of Defense began negotiations with the Government of the State of Israel on the possibility of acquiring a new modern anti-aircraft missile system in November 2020. Deliveries of the new missile system will take place by 2026.