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Czech Republic seeks to purchase Israeli air defense system

Czech defense ministry expects to ink deal worth some $430 million for Rafael’s SPYDER, says system will be key to modernizing its military

Illustrative: An F-16 fighter jet flies past the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' SPYDER surface-to-air missile system, during a performance by the Singapore Air Force aerobatics team Black Knights at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore, February 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)
Illustrative: An F-16 fighter jet flies past the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' SPYDER surface-to-air missile system, during a performance by the Singapore Air Force aerobatics team Black Knights at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore, February 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)

PRAGUE — The Czech Republic wants to buy a new air defense system for its military from the Israeli government, the country’s defense ministry said on Friday.

The Czechs want to acquire the SPYDER system, which is made by the Israeli state-run company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and is capable of providing protection against aircraft, helicopters, bombers, cruise missiles and other weapons.

Czech Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar said the Israeli system would be key to modernizing the Czech armed forces.

It would replace an obsolete anti-aircraft Soviet-era 2K12 KUB system to defend military and civilian centers such as industrial hubs, nuclear power plants, airports and other important facilities.

The Czech military said it had analyzed nine systems from seven producers before deciding on the Israeli one.

The defense ministry expects a deal worth some $430 million to be signed early in 2021 with the delivery two years later.

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