Europe

Czech Defense Minister visits Washington to seek closer defense cooperation with the United States

The Czech Defense Minister met with US responders after arriving in Washington, DC on Thursday. Secretary of Defense Austin welcomed her by praising the country’s response to the threat to the eastern side of NATO over the past two months.

“Minister Madam, I commend the Czech Republic for its government-wide approach to providing security and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

“We also commend everything you have done to strengthen deterrence on the eastern side of NATO, especially as a framework nation for the new NATO battlegroup in Slovakia.”

The parties then discussed closer cooperation on a number of projects. Ms. Chernochova expressed her desire to sign a defense cooperation agreement with the United States.

After the meeting, I spoke to Czech Television and found that there was a positive reaction to this request.

“I am from the Secretary of Defense of the Czech Republic. [military] The modernization plan is considered one of the priorities of the United States. “

Lloyd Austin, JanaČernochová | Photo: US Secretary of Defense / Flickr

The Czech side is particularly interested in securing the purchase of US military helicopters, but other equipment such as the F-35 fighter may also be on the table.

The purchase agreement for four Viper helicopters and eight Venom helicopters to replace the Czech Republic’s Soviet-era MI-35 was already signed in 2019 by Chernochova’s predecessor, the Lubomir Metner. However, the Czech side wants to buy more helicopters. Over the next few years. Relevant pilot and personnel training, and long-term delivery of spare parts mean that this is likely to be a long deal of 10 years.

Unconfirmed rumors also suggest that if US helicopter deliveries could be sped up, Czech military Soviet-era gunships could be sent to Ukraine.

In addition, Ms. Chernochova suggested that the Czech side is interested in signing a 10-year mutual defense procurement agreement that would allow the Czech defense industry to participate in the US military procurement program. Currently, the Czech Ministry of Defense is prohibited by law from participating in US military bids.

Finally, the Czech Defense Minister reaffirmed his commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense by 2025. She told Czech Television that this goal could be achieved sooner if the necessary equipment became available. She also invited Secretary of Defense Austin to Prague.

JanaČernochová will stay in the United States until Monday and will return to the Czech Republic on Monday.

https://english.radio.cz/czech-defence-minister-visits-washington-seek-closer-defence-cooperation-us-8748448 Czech Defense Minister visits Washington to seek closer defense cooperation with the United States

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