12:00 AM, March 2, 2009
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PRAGUE: According to Defense Ministry sources, the Czech military is interesting in buying a new batch of 79 Land Rover Defender off-road utility vehicles for use in foreign missions by the end of November 2009. The purchase has been given an early estimate of CZK384 million ($17.29 million). The vehicles would then be used by the Czech rapid-deployment unit in its NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan, as well as by the joint Czech-Slovak EU battlegroup being formed. Saddled with old Soviet- and Warsaw Pact-legacy material following independence and undertaking military missions in Afghanistan, the Czech Ministry of Defense has been making its strongest procurement pushes in the area of armored vehicles. While the Czech Special Forces have previously purchased Land Rover Defenders that have been used to replace older off-road Russian-legacy vehicles since the 1990s, experiences in Afghanistan have also forced the Defense Ministry to purchase American Humvees, IVECO 4x4 LMVs, and Dingo II armored personnel carriers. The latter two vehicles were purchased last fall through UOR (urgent operational requirement) contracts. The Czech Republic is also closing on a final contract with Austrian Steyr for the procurement of 107 Pandur II armored personnel carriers worth CZK12 billion ($540 million). That deal has been on-again, off-again since June 2006 but is finally nearing fruition. Czech industry will benefit, with offsets making up nearly 60 percent of the overall program.
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