Czech Republic Defense budget to reach 2 percent of GDP by 2024
The Czech Republic's Defence budget could reach 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024, a year earlier than previously planned, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said, according to Business Standard on September 16. But it will not be easy. In 2022, the Ministry manages a budget of 89 billion Czech crowns ($3 billion).
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In May 2022 the Czech Ministry of Defence announced it will get 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany in exchange for Czech tanks that will be given to Ukraine to help defend against Russian invasion (Picture source: Army Recognition)
In its policy statement unveiled in January 2022, the government had promised to commit 2 percent of GDP to defense spending by 2025. The IANS Czech News Agency said if 2 percent of the GDP is to be spent on defense in 2024, one year ahead, thus, the budget would have to be raised "by some 30 billion crowns next year and again in the following year". Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the Ministry has suffered from long-term underfunding, which has posed problems to the army's modernization schedule, but that his government has taken steps in recent months to move the process forward.
The modernization plan includes acquisition projects, such as talking with Sweden to acquire CV90 combat vehicles and with the U.S.on the purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.
The Army of the Czech Republic, to a large extent, currently uses equipment dating back to the times of the Warsaw Pact. During the Cold War, Czechoslovakia was a major supplier of tanks, armored personnel carriers, military trucks and trainer aircraft – the bulk of military exports went to its Comecon partners. Replacement of aging or obsolete equipment, or making it at least compliant with NATO standards, is urgently required.
Modernization plans include the acquisition of new multi-role helicopters, transport aircraft, infantry fighting vehicles, air defense radars and missiles. If possible, the Czech Ministry of Defence selects products that are manufactured or co-produced in the Czech Republic. This includes firearms of the Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod, namely the CZ 75 pistol, CZ Scorpion Evo 3 submachine gun, and CZ 805 BREN and BREN 2 assault rifles. Moreover, the Czech Army is equipped with about 3,000 T810 and T815 vehicles of various modifications produced by the Czech Tatra Trucks company. Tatra Defence Vehicle factory ensures licensed production of Pandur II and Titus armored vehicles. Aircraft such as the Aero L-39 Albatros, Aero L-159 Alca and Let L-410 Turbolet have been produced domestically as well.
At the beginning of 2019, the Czech Ministry of Defence announced its modernization program, consisting of acquiring 210 new modern IFVs as a replacement for the aging BVP-2. In May 2022 the Czech Ministry of Defence announced it will get 15 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany in exchange for Czech tanks that will be given to Ukraine to help defend against Russian invasion and will purchase up to 50 modern 2A7+ variants later.