Czechs Sign $630 Million Deal for Israel-Made Air Defense System | News

Prague buys Spyder system made by arms maker Rafael as part of military modernization.

The Czech Republic has signed a $630 million deal to buy a new air defense system from Israel, marking the central European country’s latest step to modernize its armed forces.

The deal, announced Tuesday, sees Prague purchase the Spyder system made by Israeli state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

Spyder can provide protection against airplanes, helicopters, bombers, cruise missiles and other weapons.

The Czech Defense Ministry said the deal, under which the NATO member will receive four short-range air defense batteries, is worth 13.7 billion Czech korun ($630 million). Delivery of the components is planned for 2026.

The Spyder system will replace an outdated Soviet-era anti-aircraft defense system 2K12 Kub to defend military and civilian centers such as industrial hubs, nuclear power plants, airports, and other key facilities.

Czech-France arms deal

Under a separate deal announced last week, the Czech military will acquire 52 Caesar self-propelled howitzers from France’s Nexter Systems.

That agreement, worth 8.52 billion Czech korun ($390 million), was signed on Thursday during the visit of French Defense Minister Florence Parly to Prague.

The new weapons will replace outdated Dana systems that do not meet NATO standards. Most guns will be assembled in the Czech Republic.

The deals come as French President Emmanuel Macron calls on Europe to defend its interests and build its own military capability after a major diplomatic row with traditional allies the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia over the recently announced trilateral Aukus. -security pact.

“This [Czech deal] comes after a period of rapprochement with the Czech Republic that was marked at a strategic level, but also a vision that is closer to what European defense policy should be and bring us,” a French army official told Reuters before last week’s deal with Prague was signed.

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