Karlovy Vary, West Bohemia, Oct 10 (CTK) – A Czech Army training centre with a permanent unit of 200 to 300 soldiers is to emerge in the Hradiste Military Area, Karlovy Vary Region, within four years, Chief-of-Staff Josef Becvar told journalists on Tuesday.

The army wants to add it to the capacity of its current Vyskov training centre and military academy, which is growing insufficient. The army also intends to cooperate with the Karlovy Vary Region on making use of the airport or a possible establishment of a military secondary school, Becvar said.

“The area has amazing capabilities. For the training of ground forces and of the artillery, we have an anti-aircraft firing range here and there are areas for a range of activities that the Czech Army needs,” Becvar said.

The Hradiste Military Area, with an area of 28,000 hectares, is the biggest Czech training complex in the Czech Republic. It was established in 1953 and it is currently used for field training of army troops and units, training of anti-aircraft units of short range of both the Czech Republic and NATO. It is used for training for peace missions, active reserves, rescue battalions, integrated rescue system units and special police units as well.

The army is going to spend hundreds of millions of Czech crowns to build the training centre. This is due to the fact that the numbers of Czech soldiers have been increasing, and so have been the numbers of the permanent reserves. Currently, the number of soldiers in West and North Bohemia is at the minimum level.

Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) told journalists about the plan to set up one or two classrooms of military subjects’ study at some civil secondary school, or to build an independent school.

Jana Vildumetzova (ANO), the governor of the Karlovy Vary Region, said the increase in soldiers’ numbers is necessary in order to enhance the sense of safety in the region. Previously, there were 20,000 soldiers in the region neighbouring with Germany, but there are currently only 185.

The region is losing its young population, which finds opportunities elsewhere. With a new training centre and a military school, we could expect them to stay here, Vildumetzova added.

The region wants to sign a memorandum on cooperation with the army and the Defence Ministry soon.