Czech Republic set to seal Heron Mk 1 UAV deal before year end
Czech defence minister Jana Černochová has said she expects a deal with Israel for three Israel Aerospace Industries Heron Mk 1 MALE UAVs to be reached before the end of the year.
The two governments are soon to open negotiations for the acquisition covering aircraft, ground control stations, data terminals, transport containers and other material, according to a Czech Republic Ministry of Defence statement.
The new UAVs are mainly to be used by the Army of the Czech Republic for reconnaissance and combat support operations.
'The Department of Defense has conducted preliminary market consultations in recent months to determine which drone best meets the military's needs,' noted the Czech MoD. 'From these consultations, the HERON 1 type from Israel's state-owned company Israel Aerospace Industries emerged as the best.'
Černochová also said that negotiations are taking place with a view to reaching the 'lowest possible price and at the same time the shortest possible delivery date.'
Shephard Defence Insight notes that Prague had previously budgeted CZK200 million ($9 million) to procure additional ScanEagle UAVs to increase Czech Army UAV reconnaissance capabilities by 2020, but with no such deal arriving, the latest plan to acquire Heron's looks to have replaced the old one.
The Heron procurement negotiations arose after the Czech and US governments opened talks in July on the sale of 24 Lockheed Martin F-35 fifth-generation fighter jets.
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