U.S. and 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.

U.S. Czech Republic Agree to Sale of Helicopters 925 001 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters (Picture source: Bell Flight)

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

Two men shake hands. Military service members in dress uniforms stand in a row in the background.
A man writes in a book on a podium.

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 defence 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 defence relationship, a defence official said.

Both leaders said the U.S. and the Czech Republic share many security interests.

"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.