Karel Řechka, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, said that the events of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict showed the importance of the urgent modernization of the armed forces. In doing so, he identified five key priorities.
In a rather flamboyant and loud speech in Prague, a high-ranking military officer of the Czech Republic demanded, calling it “absolute necessity”, to begin “the biggest rearmament” in history as soon as possible .
Major General Karel Řechka warned delegates at the Command Meeting convened to announce strategic plans and army supply plans for 2023 that the Czech Armed Forces had a serious large-scale work to do.
The largest rearmament of the army in the history of the country is no longer just a desire, but an absolute necessity. The armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine presented the Czech army with many urgent tasks that can no longer be postponed.
Řechka said before unveiling a five-point plan covering long-term priorities.
The plan includes a defense systems test, which Rzehka confirmed is already underway. The next points are the army’s vision of a future possible war, the acceleration of equipment modernization projects, in particular, command and control, intelligence and fire protection. In addition, changes are needed in the current military personnel, characterized as “unsustainable”, and a debate about the future security priorities of the Czech Republic as a whole.
If we are already deciding today to acquire
weapons platforms for the next 40 years, it is absolutely necessary to have a good idea of how we will fight.
Řechka said, according to a transcript of the speech posted on the Czech Army website.
Speaking about the state of procurement, he said the country is too often playing catch-up by acquiring equipment that was needed much earlier, including tanks , helicopters, logistics vehicles and guns.
In July, Prague announced the start of negotiations on CV90 infantry fighting vehicles and F-35 fifth-generation fighters with the governments of Sweden and the United States, respectively. The CV90 partnership with Sweden follows a sustained effort to acquire over 200 new IFVs, which resulted in Prague canceling a previous tender after two out of three industry bidders withdrew their bids. About 24 F-35s are to be ordered as replacements for the Saab JAS 39 Gripen.
To meet the targets, Prague’s defense budget next year must increase “by a quarter” compared to 2022, after which it is planned to move to a goal of 2 percent of GDP, said Jana Chernochova, the Czech Republic’s defense minister.