February 6, 2015

Czechs to deliver T-72 tanks, APCs to Iraq

Weapons are intended to be used to fight the Islamic State

Prague, Feb 6 (ČTK) — The Czech firm Excalibur Army will deliver 100 repaired tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs) to the Iraqi military in a contract for hundreds of million crowns, the server writes today.

The contract was given a go-ahead by the Czech foreign, defense and interior ministries.

The arms are to help Baghad fight Islamic State.

“This is one of the biggest deals in the history of Excalibur Army,” Jaroslav Strnad, owner of the Excalibur Group holding to which Excalibur Army belongs, is quoted as saying.

This will involve work worth hundreds of million crowns for several years, Strnad said.

The firm recently sent tanks, APCs and missile launchers to the Nigerian military, which is fighting Islamic militants from Boko Haram.

It has also gained a license for the manufacturing of Pandur APCs for Eastern Europe and Asia.

Earlier this week, Iraqi experts personally checked and accepted the first supply of the BVP-1 APCs and T-72 tanks, Excalibur Army’s spokesman Andrej Čírtek told the server.

They thoroughly tested the weapons from inside and outside, checking their spare parts, he added.

“The commercial aspect set aside, this is an extremely important, even unique help the Czech Republic provides in the struggle against international terrorism,” former chief of staff Jiří Šedivý told the server.

Chairman of the Senate foreign, defense and security affairs committee František Bublan (Social Democrats, ČSSD) said the delivery of arms was the Czech Republic’s best contribution to Iraq in its fight against Islamists.

Excalibur Army mainly deals in the military materiel of the former Eastern Bloc. As it is often outdated, it wants to change its focus on its own production.

It employs roughly 400 people.

Two years ago, Excalibur Army bought the Military Repairs Enterprise (VOP) in Šternberk, north Moravia, from the Defense Ministry for 152 million Kč. It also owns the former military repairs enterprise in Přelouč, east Bohemia.

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