During a visit to Israel on 8 February, 2024, the Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová pressed her Israeli counterpart, Yoav Galant, to deliver the capability for the eight 3D radars her country purchased five years ago.

In December 2019, the Czech Republic signed a government-to-government agreement with Israel for the procurement of eight 3D medium-range Mobile Air Defence Radar (MADR) units from Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI). The contract value was Kč3.5bn ($149.6m).

At the time, the Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) anticipated that the new radars would be “delivered progressively and operationalised by 2023”.

The programme also included a substantial contribution from Czech industries, amounting to 30% of the contract value. The co-operation with local companies applied to all parts of the programme including design, manufacturing, assembly, integration, testing and life-time maintenance of the systems. 

Certain security components were manufactured locally, including advanced Gallium Nitride radar modules, as well as auxiliary subsystems such as trucks and camouflage nets.

Although all eight 3D radars are currently in the Czech Republic, “the project has seen a delay caused primarily by technical problems on the supplier side,” the MoD recently stated.

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The MADR is an advanced radar, and it is also used within the Israeli Iron Dome system. It will equip the Czech Armed Forces’ 26th Air Command, Control and Surveillance Regiment, where it will replace obsolete, Soviet-era 2K12 ‘Kub’ systems.

Due to the delay, the Czech Government needed to extend the programme as “sustainment and development of Czech Air Force capabilities” in December 2023.

Černochová discussed the complications with Minister Galant and expressed her wish that the problems be overcome for “the radars to be introduced into the Czech Armed Forces’ inventory as soon as possible.”

Image of the MADR air defence system. Credit: IAI.

Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas

After underscoring the close ties between the two countries, Černochová added that “we will resume this common [military system] endeavour as soon as circumstances permit.”

Lately, the Israeli Government has been occupied with its war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which waged a surprise attack on Israel on 7 October, 2023. Since then, the Israel Defence Force has been attempting to stamp out the organisation in the Gaza Strip.

The Czech Republic made clear Israel’s right to defend itself while also praising the country’s steps to increase humanitarian supplies to civilians in the Strip. Czech aid is valued at several million Czech korunas in support of civilians in Gaza, as well as Israeli healthcare organisations.

The Palestinian Civil Defence in Rafah, Gaza after Israeli strikes on 17 October 2023. Credit: Shutterstock/Anas-Mohammed.

Černochová reiterated that she is undeterred in continuing to pursue greater industrial co-operation with the Israeli Government:

“The excellent political relations between our countries facilitate the strengthening of business cooperation, while combining the latest Israeli technologies and business skills with the Czech tradition of engineering and the country’s strategic location at the heart of Europe can bring outstanding achievements for both sides, including, but not limited to, the defence industry domain.”

Besides MADRs, the Central European republic has also purchased four Spyder missile defence systems in October 2021. In addition to this, the Israeli company, Elbit Systems, also plans to build a centre for manufacturing uncrewed aerial systems in the territory of the Czech Republic.