Czech Defense Ministry Plans to Buy Air Defense From Israel's Rafael

Ministry says it expects contracts to be signed in early 2021, as government set to miss NATO defense spending target

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Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis shakes hands with Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint press conference in Israel, February 19, 2019.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis shakes hands with Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint press conference in Israel, February 19, 2019.Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

The Czech Defense Ministry will start talks with the Israeli government to buy a short and medium range air defense system made by Israeli state-owned supplier Rafael, the ministry said on Friday.

The government has been raising defense spending to modernize its armed forces, but has admitted it would fall short of its pledge, as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to spend 2% of gross domestic product on defense by 2024.

The ministry said it expected a government-to-government contract to be signed in early 2021 and supplies from 2023 and had picked Rafael's SPYDER Short Range Air Defence/Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (SHORAD/MRSAM) from nine systems offered by seven producers.

It plans to spend 10 billion crowns ($430 million) on four batteries, each including its own radar, command and control unit.

The SPYDER will replace an over 40-year-old Soviet-made 2K12 KUB air defense system.

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