Czech MoD seeks to buy new assault rifles

Arms deal will include purchase of 8,000 rifles and associated equipment | As the Prague Daily Monitor reported on Sunday, the Czech Defence Ministry launched an open tender for assault rifles with grenade launchers with an estimated value of CZK1.5 billion (€57.4 million / $86.4 million). The newly procured assault rifles are to replace ageing equipment of the Army after Czech Defence Minister Martin Bartak reported to the parliament in October that the military encountered problems with old arms.

According to the daily, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) invited for offers to be placed by 18 December 2009 and plans to procure some 8,000 assault rifles along with 400 grenade launchers. Furthermore, the contract will include the purchase of 1,400 telescope sights with night vision adapters and laser pointers as well as spare parts and ammunition.

The Czech MoD seeks to replace the ageing Sa vz.58 machine guns that the Army has been using since the 1950s. Thought is very much resembles the AK-47 Kalaschnikow it is a domestic development. However, both arms use the M43 7.62x39mm rounds.

So far, press reports have only revealed the name of one arms manufacturer that will participate in the tender. The domestic manufacturer Ceska zbrojovka a.s. will reportedly offer its CZ S 805 which is convertible into a combat gun configuration, configuration of a light sub-machine gun or a light sniping rifle. Presented at this year’s IDET, the variable CZ S 805 gun system has been developed in close cooperation with the Czech Army. It is a multi-calibre system and comes with a MIL-STD 1913 standardised fixing rail, enabling the use of a wide spectrum of accessories. Furthermore, the arms maker also developed a unique bayonet for the CZ S 805.

Despite not being a new development, the Czech MoD might also opt for the more common US-built M16 5.56 mm rifle. Czech Special Forces use the M4A3 Bushmaster carbine which is based on the same arms design as the M16. The latter has already been in use by 15 NATO countries in different variants.

The Czech Armed Forces are in the enduring process of modernisation, slowly replacing ageing material of the Cold War era. Quite recently, the Czech Army officially accepted the first Pandur II armoured personnel carriers (APC) built by Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch (part of General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems). Furthermore, the Czech Republic bought two Elbit-built Skylark II tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) worth $2.9 million as well as six AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven UAVs for some $1.15 million.

See also: “The VZ.58 Czechs Out”

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