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Gov’t approves closer cooperation with armament industry

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Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) – The Czech cabinet has approved a document enabling to place key armament contracts with domestic suppliers, a step aimed to enhance Czech self-sufficiency, the Government Office press section told CTK yesterday, adding that the step should also ensure safe supplies to soldiers during crises.
The document named The Strategy of Armament and Support for the Czech Defence Industry Development Until 2025 was submitted by Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO).
Deputy Defence Minister Tomas Kuchta told CTK that the strategy has been outlined to enable the ministry’s purchases of selected products based on a legal exception justified by the country’s strategic security.
It enables the ministry to sign a contract with a concrete company without a tender if it can prove to the EU that the supply in question is Prague’s long-term priority, Kuchta said.
A list of priorities is yet to be defined based on the strategy document.
The state is to define the branches that are indispensable for the Czech military and which the military wants to be supplied by Czech companies for strategic reasons, since in a crisis, foreign suppliers could prefer another customer than Prague.
The supplies in question might involve ammunition, lorries, catering and equipment servicing.
The strategy distinguishes several types of supplies, some of which must be provided by no other than state-run companies, while other types of contracts may be placed with private suppliers, Kuchta said.
To become a strategic partner, a private firm must meet several criteria, including maximal transparency and accessible information about the firm’s owner.
In early November, the government approved the purchase of ammunition worth 2.5 billion crowns from the Czech Sellier&Bellot firm.
Similar contracts might be signed with companies such as the Tatra lorry maker and producers of radars and training aircraft.
The third category of supplies are those which the domestic industry is unable to secure, such as supersonic fighters. In these cases, the state will seek as large participation of the Czech industry in the supplies as possible.
Another category are the products Czech companies would be able to produce if investments were made in research and development. In such cases, the Defence Ministry will be ready to invest money in the projects, says the strategy the ministry completed in cooperation with the Defence and Security Industry Association of the Czech Republic.
($1=25.882 crowns)

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