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Czechs may buy US, Italian military helicopters

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Prague, Oct 31 (CTK) – The Czech Defence Ministry has received the offers to buy 12 military multipurpose helicopters worth over 10 billion crowns from the U.S. and Italian governments, Defence Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek told journalists on Tuesday.

The office will evaluate and judge the bids and the decision on the winner will be up to the new government, Pejsek said.

According to earlier estimates, the contract is to cost 10-15 billion crowns.

The Defence Ministry wants to put up the contract on the basis of an inter-governmental agreement.

The Czech military is interested not only in the delivery of the machines themselves, but also in the training of pilots and mechanics, the spare parts and servicing.

According to its earlier statements, the U.S. government is to offer its UH-1Y helicopters from the firm Bell, while the Italian government is to offer the AgustaWestland AW139M helicopters from the firm Leonardo.

“Today, the Defence Ministry received the offers of the governments of Italy and the USA to deliver 12 multipurpose helicopters. Now they will be evaluated and assessed. Pending the end of the process, we will no longer comment on the bid,” Pejsek said on Tuesday.

The project is underway according to the approved schedule, he added.

“The final decision on the supplier of the new helicopters is up to the new government,” Pejsek said.

According to an earlier statement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), a part of the United States Department of Defense, the value of the bid is estimated at 575 million dollars. The final price may be somewhat lower.

Bell offers the twin-engine UH-1Y helicopter called Yankee, which has commonly been used by the U.S. Marine Corps since 2008.

In its press report, the DSCA says within the tender the USA also wants to deliver one spare engine within the helicopter tender as well as EGI navigations systems from Honeywell.

The machines are to be equipped with the M240 machine guns.

The AW139M is a military version of a twin-engine helicopter, used by the Italian military for rescue and search missions.

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