“Israel is our closest partner in the Middle East. Same as in 1948, we stand by your side, ready to provide assistance according to your needs,” Černochová underscored. On behalf of the Czech Republic, she expressed full support to Israel’s right to self-defence and, at the same time, once more condemned the crimes of Hamas against Israel and its civilian population.
Černochová highly appraised the steps Israel has taken to increase humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip and also pointed out the recent Czech aid valued several million Czech korunas in support of civilians in Gaza, as well as Israeli healthcare organisations. According to Minister Černochová, it is key to contain the conflict. “The security situation is aggravated by Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and by Iran backed militias targeting U.S. forces in the region. Retaliatory actions are essential to deter them from further attacks,” Černochová said during the discussions.
The Czech Republic provided aid to its partner just a couple of days after the October terrorist attacks. The STV Group supplied three thousand ballistic plates to Israel, with the Defence Minister and other Ministries having accelerated export control and customs licences to the maximum. “The supply from the Czech Republic resounded very much in Israel, and it reminded the people of the assistance we provided when the state was being formed,” she said. If Israel asks for further assistance, Czech defence and security industries can offer arms and protective equipment, as well as ammunition.
The Czech Armed Forces and the Israel Defence Forces successfully cooperate as well. Czech specialists are taking various courses and trainings in Israel. For the Czech Armed Forces, cooperation in the academic field as well as in training is very important, and both sides benefit from sharing experience in military specialisations. “We have developed a bilateral activities plan to strengthen practical cooperation and I am confident that we will resume this common endeavour as soon as circumstances permit,” Černochová said.
The Czech Republic cooperates with Israel on many armaments projects, of which two are key for the Czech Armed Forces. The first covers the Mobile Air Defence Radars, and the other is the SPYDER air defence system.
The Czech Republic signed the Government-to-Government agreement for the procurement of eight MADR medium range radar units with the State of Israel in December 2019. It is one of the most advanced systems and it is also used within the famous Iron Dome system. It will equip the Czech Armed Forces 26th Air Command, Control and Surveillance Regiment, where it will replace obsolete Russian equipment.
All eight 3D radars are currently in the Czech Republic. The project has seen a delay caused primarily by technical problems on the supplier side. Because of the delay, the Czech Government needed to extend the associated program “Sustainment and development of Czech Air Force capabilities” in December 2023.
Černochová also discussed the complications with Minister Galant and expressed her wish that the problems be overcome in order for “the radars to be introduced into the Czech Armed Forces’ inventory as soon as possible”.
The Czech Defence Ministry signed the contract for the delivery of SPYDER systems with the State of Israel in October 2021, again in the Government-to-Government format. The project covers four SPYDER air defence missile batteries on Tatra 815-7 8×8 trucks, which is the primary platform in the Czech Armed Forces. The Czech Armed Forces will receive the SPYDER systems by the end of 2026.
“Participation of the domestic defence industry is very important for us in all acquisition projects,” Černochová stated. Czech industries are involved in both major armaments projects and will also participate in the order for acquisition of I-Derby air defence missiles. “In the domain of defence industrial cooperation, our goal is also to link up Czech and Israeli companies and support joint projects,” she added. A high potential in the domain of advanced technologies consists in the project of the Israeli company ELBIT, which is committed to building a centre for manufacturing of uncrewed aerial systems in the territory of the Czech Republic in cooperation with the Czech company LLP.
“The excellent political relations between our countries facilitate the strengthening of business cooperation, while combining the latest Israeli technologies and business skills with the Czech tradition of engineering and the country’s strategic location at the heart of Europe can bring outstanding achievements for both sides, including, but not limited to, the defence industry domain,” Černochová concluded.