The contract was signed on behalf of the Ministry of Defense by Lubor Koudelka, Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisitions, and Olivier Travert, Nexter Vice President for Export.
Smlouva na 52 děl Caesar podepsána. Zvýšíme naši obranyschopnost a nahradíme 40 let staré houfnice DANA. S ministryní @florence_parly jsme se shodli, že naše spolupráce je na skvělé úrovni. pic.twitter.com/K3gzBth8eO— Lubomír Metnar (@metnarl) September 30, 2021
According to Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar, the signing completed another modernization project, which represents a further step forward in building the army of the 21st century.
"By acquiring 52 new NATO-caliber cannons, we will increase our defenses and replace the 40-year-old DANA howitzers now in service," Minister Metnar told a news conference today.
According to the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Army General Aleš Opat, the acquisition of new equipment fulfills another step in the framework of modernization and the goals of force construction. "This purchase will provide the army with fire support for ground troops, which is very important on the current and future battlefields." According to Opat, the Czech artillery will literally "move to another dimension and into the 21st century."
Caesar's cannon is one of the world's best. Compared to the DANA howitzer, it can fire at a distance of more than 40 km, it will also fire more shots in one minute: 6 compared to 4. The advantage of acquiring a French howitzer will also be the use of NATO-standard 155 mm ammunition.
Buying together for a stronger Europe
French Defense Minister Florence Parly described the new howitzers as extremely modern and accurate. She also highlighted the fact that the purchase took place between European countries. "The fact that a European country buys something from another European country in the field of defense is not only an important symbol of our cooperation. We are extremely proud to see our countries building a stronger Europe. "
The negotiations were described by the Minister of Defense as long and demanding, but a good compromise was reached, according to him. The final price is CZK 8.5 billion including VAT, according to Metnar, the price is about a billion lower than the initial offer. From the very beginning, the participation of Czech industry has been key for the Ministry of Defense.
"Czech companies will account for 40 percent of the entire contract. By purchasing, we will also significantly support the domestic defense industry, "said Lubomír Metnar.
Deliveries will take place between 2024 and 2026. Forty-eight new works out of a total of 52 will be produced directly in the Czech Republic, which, according to Metnar, will ensure a high level of security of supply. "We expect Czech companies to continue supplying ammunition and ensuring the life cycle in the future," he added.
Florence Parly: The Czech Armed Forces play a key role in the Sahel
During the bilateral talks, the two ministers focused more intensively on the joint action of the French and Czech armies in the Sahel region. Mali remains a priority for the Czech Republic. According to the Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar, the security and stability of this West African country is in the interest of the whole of Europe.
The Czechs have been operating in Mali since 2013, last year they commanded EU training missions for seven months, which will be repeated in the second half of 2022. At the moment, they also serve under the banner of the international group Takuba, training of the Malian security forces.
"This unit carried out a number of missions side by side with the Malian partners. Thanks to that, it enabled them to be more confident and effective, "said Florence Parly, alongside French colleagues alongside French troops, saying the Czech Armed Forces play a key role in the Sahel and the Czech Republic and France are among the" main players "in the field.