The Czech Republic defense ministry revealed it would soon begin negotiations with the Israeli government for the acquisition of three HERON 1 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), including the associated ground control stations and other related equipment.
The procurement of these systems is based on the Czech Army’s “Capability Building Concept,” which identifies UAVs as key in conducting aerial reconnaissance and performing other tasks for direct combat support and protection of ground units.
According to the defense ministry, an official contract is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.
“Similar to other large acquisitions, we decided on the G2G route, i.e. direct negotiations between governments. It will enable us to set up long-term cooperation and ensure the operation, repairs and supply of spare parts for the supplied military equipment throughout its lifetime,” defense minister Jana Černochová said.
As explained by the defense ministry, the HERON was chosen based on market consultations conducted in recent months to determine which drone best meets the military’s needs. From these consultations, the HERON 1 type from Israel’s state-owned company Israel Aerospace Industries emerged as the best.
HERON is designed to perform long-term strategic and tactical missions, and has the ability to fly in severe weather conditions. It can carry a payload of up to 290 kg, and be used for various defense and civilian missions.
“On the basis of an assessment of the individual required parameters, provided by the approached suppliers of unmanned systems to the designated project team of the defense ministry, the selected system most closely corresponds to the expected use within the army and meets future requirements for full-scale use, both on the territory of the Czech Republic as part of training, and for possible use as part of supporting units in foreign operations,” Colonel Pavel Nakládal said.
“The next step will now be to start negotiations with the aim of achieving the lowest possible price and at the same time the shortest possible delivery date. I believe that the contract will be concluded this year,” defense minister Jana Černochová aded.