The decision by the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic may come as a surprise. Just halfway through last year, the Czech Ministry of Defence announced that it had decided to acquire three Heron 1 unmanned aerial vehicles produced by the Israeli defence giant, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
However, the agreement for the purchase of Heron 1 systems has not been signed yet, and it is now uncertain when that may happen. The Czech armed forces have only stated that it will happen at a later time.
The decision to change priorities by the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic is justified by the lessons learned from the ongoing combat operations in Ukraine. The Czechs emphasize the importance of enhancing their reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities on tactical level to to provide ISR support to ground operations. The acquired drones will be integrated into the equipment of the Czech land forces.
Prague has not yet announced the specific type of unmanned aircraft it will purchase. It is only known that they will be drones of various types suitable for reconnaissance operations. Most likely, the Czech Republic will acquire several different drone models.
The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic stated in a communication that the total cost of purchasing more than 200 smaller drones will be lower than the planned acquisition of three Heron 1 unmanned aircraft from Israel.