Czech Defense Minister Pushes Israel to Provide 3D Radar Capability

During a visit to Israel on February 8, 2024, Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová pressed her Israeli counterpart, Yoav Galant, to hand over the capability for the eight 3D radars her country bought five years ago.

In December 2019, the Czech Republic signed a agreement between government with Israel for the supply of eight 3D medium-range mobile air defense radar (MADR) modules from Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI). The value of the contract was Kč 3.5 billion ($149.6 million).

At the time, the Czech Ministry of Defense (MoD) predicted that the new radars would be “progressively delivered and operational by 2023”.

The program also included a significant contribution from Czech industries, amounting to 30% of the contract value. Cooperation with local companies was implemented in all parts of the program, including design, manufacture, assembly, integration, testing and maintenance throughout the life of the systems.

Some security features were locally manufactured, including advanced gallium nitride radar units, as well as auxiliary subsystems such as trucks and camouflage nets.

Although all eight 3D radars are currently in the Czech Republic, “the project has experienced a delay caused mainly by technical problems on the part of the supplier,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said recently.

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MADR is an advanced radar and is also used in Israel’s Iron Dome system. It will equip the 26th Aviation Command, Control and Surveillance Regiment of the Czech Armed Forces, where it will replace the obsolete, Soviet-era 2K12 “Kub” systems.

Due to the delay, the Czech government had to extend the program as “maintenance and development of the capabilities of the Czech Air Force” in December 2023.

Černochová discussed the complications with Minister Galant and expressed her desire to overcome the problems so that “the radars can be introduced into the inventory of the Czech Armed Forces as soon as possible.”

MADR system
Image of the MADR air defense system. Credit: IAI.

Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas

After underlining the close ties between the two countries, Černochová added that “we will resume this common [military system] to try as soon as circumstances permit.”

Lately, the Israeli government has been preoccupied with its war against the Palestinian militant organization Hamas, which launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. Since then, the Israeli Defense Force has been trying to eradicate the organization in the Gaza Strip.

The Czech Republic made clear Israel’s right to defend itself, while also praising the country’s steps to increase humanitarian supplies to civilians in the Strip. Czech aid is valued at several million Czech crowns to support civilians in Gaza, as well as Israeli health care organizations.

Gaza war
The Palestinian Civil Defense in Gaza’s Rafah after Israeli strikes on October 17, 2023. Credit: Shutterstock/Anas-Mohammed.

Černochová reiterated that she is not discouraged from continuing to pursue greater industrial cooperation with the Israeli government:

“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 engineering tradition and the country’s strategic position in the heart of Europe can bring great achievements for both two sides, such as: but not limited to the defense industry sector.’

In addition to the MADRs, the Central European republic also purchased four Spyder missile defense systems in October 2021. In addition, the Israeli company, Elbit Systemsalso plans to build a center for the manufacture of unmanned aerial systems on the territory of the Czech Republic.

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