The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced its decision to procure a number of U.S. H-1 family of helicopters, which are manufactured by Bell. The contract will cover acquisition of four AH-1Z Viper attack and eight UH-1Y Venom utility/multirole helicopters.

U.S., Czech Republic Agree to Sale of Helicopters

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Czech Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar met at the Pentagon to finalize the sale of eight UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters and four AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.

The defense leaders took part in a ceremonial signing of the agreement today following a meeting in which they discussed their long-standing defense relationship as well as mutual security concerns, according to a defense official.

The sale, which Esper said was a “historic moment,” totals about $650 million and is the Czech Republic’s largest military purchase from the U.S. The defense secretary said it is a step forward in the Czech Republic’s replacement of Russian helicopters with NATO interoperable equipment.

This procurement supports the National Defense Strategy objectives of strengthening alliances as well as countering Russian influence, highlights consolidated gains made over the past 30 years as the Czech Republic modernizes its armed forces and demonstrates the strength of the U.S.-Czech Republic defense relationship, a defense official said. Both leaders said the U.S. and the Czech Republic share many security interests.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper greets Czech Republic Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2019. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class James K. Lee)

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper greets Czech Republic Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Dec. 12, 2019. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class James K. Lee)


“We continue to stand united as NATO allies to deter an increasingly aggressive Russia. We will also continue to work together to address the threats and challenges posed by China, especially with regard to 5G technology,” Esper said. He noted the department’s appreciation for the Czech Republic’s leadership in calling attention to the security of 5G networks in Europe.

Metnar said through a translator that the U.S. is the key strategic partner for his nation, noting that the two countries not only are NATO allies, but also have historically supported each other. “Our service members train together, fight together on deployed operations and today, now, we are opening a new chapter in our mutual relationship,” he said.

Things to Know About the U.S.-Czech Relationship:
1. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution — which began Nov. 17, 1989 — and the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia.
2. The Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999, alongside former Soviet states Poland and Hungary.
3. In 2018, the Czech Republic marked 25 years of partnership with the Nebraska and Texas National Guards.
4. The Czech Republic contributes forces in Afghanistan, to the enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia and Lithuania, the Kosovo Force, and to the coalition to defeat ISIS.
5. The Czech Republic has increased its defense spending by about 13% annually since 2017. It is on track to reach 1.4% of its gross domestic product for defense spending by 2021 and has announced a plan to reach the committed 2% by 2024.

The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced its decision to procure a number of U.S. H-1 family of helicopters, which are manufactured by Bell. The contract will cover acquisition of four AH-1Z Viper attack and eight UH-1Y Venom utility/multirole helicopters.

The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced its decision to procure a number of U.S. H-1 family of helicopters, which are manufactured by Bell. The contract will cover acquisition of four AH-1Z Viper attack and eight UH-1Y Venom utility/multirole helicopters.

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US Tests Long-Banned Ballistic Missile Armed with Conventional Warhead

US Tests Long-Banned Ballistic Missile Armed with Conventional Warhead

On Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, the U.S. Air Force, in partnership with the Strategic Capabilities Office, conducted a flight test of a prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The test missile exited its static launch stand and terminated in the open ocean after more than 500 kilometers of flight. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.

The test comes amid growing uncertainty about the future of arms control. The last remaining treaty limitation on U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons — the New Start treaty of 2010 — is scheduled to expire in February 2021. That treaty can be extended for as long as five years without requiring a renegotiation of its main terms. The Trump administration has indicated little interest in doing so.

US Tests Long-Banned Ballistic Missile Armed with Conventional Warhead

US Tests Long-Banned Ballistic Missile Armed with Conventional Warhead


The Pentagon declined to reveal the maximum range of the missile tested. Last spring, when U.S. officials disclosed the testing plan, they said it would be roughly 3,000 kilometers to 4,000 kilometers (1,860 miles to 2,480 miles). That is sufficient to reach potential targets in parts of China from a base on Guam, for example. The Pentagon has made no basing decisions and has suggested that it will take at least a few years before such a missile would be ready for deployment.

Under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers (310 miles to 3,417 miles) were prohibited. The Trump administration chose to abandon the INF treaty, saying that while it had adhered to the treaty’s limitations, Russia had violated it by deploying a noncompliant cruise missile aimed at U.S. allies in Europe. Shortly after exiting the treaty in August, the Pentagon flight-tested an INF-range cruise missile.

US Tests Long-Banned Ballistic Missile Armed with Conventional Warhead

US Tests Long-Banned Ballistic Missile Armed with Conventional Warhead