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December 5, 2019 1:02 pm

Israel Signs Deal to Provide Czech Republic With Missile Defense Technology

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

An Iron Dome battery fires an interceptor missile as rockets are launched from Gaza toward Israel near the southern city of Sderot, Aug. 9, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Amir Cohen.

The Israeli and Czech Defense Ministries have signed an agreement that will see Israel provide the Czech Republic with state-of-the-art aerial defense technology, it was announced on Thursday.

The Israeli news site Mako reported that the deal — amounting to over NIS 400 million (approximately $115 million) in value — was officially inked at a ceremony held at the Czech Defense Ministry headquarters in Prague.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Israel will provide the Czechs with eight of its multi-mission radar (MMR) systems, which are an integral part of the Jewish state’s multi-layered missile defense network, which includes the famous Iron Dome.

The radar system, which detects incoming airborne threats, was developed by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, and will be supplied to the Czech Republic starting in 2021.

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The Israeli Defense Ministry said the systems were compatible with NATO defense technology and would also be integrated into US military command-and-control systems in Europe.

The radar systems themselves will be manufactured in the Czech Republic by local defense contractors using Israeli parts and technological knowledge.

The head of the IDF’s Defense Sales Administration, Brig. Gen. Yair Coles, noted that the Czechs provided crucial military support to Israel during its War of Independence in 1948, saying, “Today, Israel and the Czech Republic close a historic circle. The Czech Republic, which stood by us and provided us with weapons upon the establishment of the state, has acquired the most advanced air defense capability in the world.”

“The agreement signed today will further strengthen companies and security relations between Israel and the Czech Republic,” he added. “It is an expression of confidence in the capabilities of the Israeli security system, our excellent industries and their technological capabilities to address the threats that are plaguing the entire world.”

“We hope this agreement opens the door for further cooperation with the Czech Republic and other NATO countries,” Coles concluded.

The Czech Republic’s minister of defense, Lubomír Metnar, called the deal “one of the major modernization projects of the Czech military and especially our air defense forces.”

“I am very pleased that when the agreement is signed, we begin the process of ending dependency on outdated Russian systems and at the same time equipping a modern system with proven operational experience,” he continued.

Metnar called Israel a “long-term strategic partner,” and noted, “I also welcome the opportunities the agreement creates for Czech security companies.”

ELTA CEO Yoav Turgeman commented, “Israel Aerospace Industries is proud to provide the Czech Republic with the best radar system, which will advance the capabilities of the Czech air force and enable it to deal with a variety of aerial threats.”

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