Czech defence industry makes Southeast Asia tour

RM-70 Vampire rocket launchers
RM-70 Vampire rocket launchers

Czech Republic defence companies embedded as part of Czech prime minister Petr Fiala’s official Southeast Asia tour are reportedly in talks to supply equipment to several regional countries including Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, according to reports.

Czech industry accompanying the Czech prime minister comprised around 15 companies, which included defence companies like Czechoslovak Group (CSG), Colt CZ Group, Omnipol, and STV Group.

On 19 April, CSG and Indonesia’s Republikorp signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop and produce the ADS-400 air defence system – which comprises air surveillance, detection, and fire control units as well as missile effectors designed to defeat fifth-generation aircraft and other emerging threats – in Indonesia.

CSG has already made significant inroads with the Indonesian military, having supplied RM-70 Vampire rocket launchers together with specialised support and command vehicles, associated missile technology and spare parts. The company has also successfully delivered M3 self-propelled bridging systems and engineering vehicles – developed by industry partner General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) – to the Indonesian Army and Marine Corps.

In the Philippines, Minister Fiala stated that the Czech Republic is considering opportunities to support the Philippine Army’s modernisation efforts as well as supplying aircraft for the Philippine Coast Guard, although he did not disclose specifics.

Reports have also indicated that Vietnam is in discussion with Prague for a broad range of military equipment, including aircraft, radar systems, and vehicle and weapon upgrades.

As a former Soviet satellite state between the late 1940s to the late 1980s, the Czech Republic is seen as a strong candidate to secure Vietnamese contracts as its defence companies are well-versed in modernising legacy Soviet and Russian equipment, which dominate the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA)’s order of battle with as much as 80% of its inventory.

Hanoi has also ordered 12 Czech-made Aero Vodochody L-39NG light-combat aircraft in 2021, with the first examples already delivered to the Vietnamese air force. Discussions are reportedly under way to acquire more of these aircraft.

by Jr Ng