To bolster its military capabilities, Ukraine’s defence industry has sealed a deal with Czech arms manufacturer Česká zbrojovka to produce domestically Nato-standard rifles.

Ukraine’s defence landscape is set for an upgrade as Ukroboronprom, the country’s defence conglomerate, has formalised a deal with Česká zbrojovka, a Czech arms manufacturer. The partnership aims to assemble CZ BREN 2 rifles, widely recognised for their NATO-standard specifications, within Ukraine’s borders, marking a shift towards modernising the nation’s armed forces.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ukroboronprom secures a license transfer agreement with Česká zbrojovka, enabling the domestic assembly of CZ BREN 2 rifles. This initiative signifies a departure from traditional procurement routes, enabling Ukraine to equip its military with firearms tailored to meet Nato standards.

The CZ BREN 2 model has seen widespread adoption by military and law enforcement agencies worldwide, including the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

General director of Ukroboronprom, Herman Smetanin, hailed the partnership as a pivotal moment for Ukraine’s defence industry. 

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Technology transfer from NATO member countries is a key moment for our company, due to successful international partnership and military defence reform. This initiative is an important step on the way to the creation of the arsenal of the free world in Ukraine,” Smetanin said.

Echoing Smetanin’s sentiments, Jan Zaits, CEO of Česká zbrojovka, said that the move would support Ukraine’s efforts for increased adoption of Nato-standard equipment.

“This first step towards a full-scale technology transfer project for the CZ BREN 2 rifle is a direct consequence of its successful use by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the battlefield in Ukraine,” Zaits said.

The Czech Government has had a strong reaction to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, and public opinion has swung heavily against Russia. GlobalData’s intelligence on the Czech Republic’s defence market outlines that Czechia remains a major donor of aid to Ukraine, both military and otherwise.

In a plenary session on 11 November, 2023, the Czech Senate renewed its mandate to provide military aid and training to Ukraine, extending the stay of Ukrainian forces in Czech territory until 31 December, 2024. The initiative aims to enhance Ukrainian military capabilities and allow the flow of Ukrainian personnel across Europe. 

The CZ BREN 2 production technology transfer project was unveiled at the First International Forum of Defense Industries in Kyiv, signalling Ukraine’s commitment to modernisation and self-sufficiency in defence production. 

As Ukraine forges ahead with plans to assemble Nato-standard rifles domestically, the collaboration between Ukroboronprom and Česká zbrojovka heralds a new era of self-reliance in the country’s defence industry. With CZ BREN 2 rifles poised to strengthen Ukraine’s operational capabilities, the partnership shows a shared commitment to security and stability in the region.

Additional reporting by John Hill