The Czech Republic’s defense ministry announced last week that it will likely issue a tender for 12 army helicopters in the summer.
The announcement was made during Defence Minister Karla Slechtova’s visit to the 22nd Helicopter Base in Namest nad Oslavou on 9th April.
"The Ministry of Defence has decided to place an order for 12 new multipurpose helicopters. However, we will not be following the normal procedure in choosing a supplier. We will take advantage of an exception clause in the law relating to public tenders by making inquiries directly to two or three potential contractors. We will proceed with the documentation, and make our announcement this summer," said Minister Slechtova at the meeting.
Last year, the country has received offers from Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron, and Italy’s Leonardo, but Slechtova scrapped the tender after taking office in December.
“We won’t go to a single company... We will address three bidders at least. We will complete the documentation and launch the tender in the summer,” Slechtova said on Twitter.
During her visit to the airbase, the Minister was shown the location and operational capability of the Mil Mi-171S transport and the Mil Mi-24/35 combat helicopters. During the guided tour, Minister Slechtova expressed an interest in looking over various design aspects of the helicopters, such as the carrying capacity of the helicopters, the size and function of the cockpit, and weight of the weapons systems.
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The US State Department has approved a possible sale to the Czech Republic for 12 Bell UH-1Y attack and utility helicopters estimated to cost $575 million. The principal contractors will be Bell Helicopter, Textron and General Electric Company
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