The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999. Under the George W. Administration, plans to base ten ground-based interceptors and establish and early detection radar in the Czech Republic, were agreed upon. In 2009 the Obama Administration cancelled the basing of interceptors and offered the Czech Republic a new agreement for the basing of only an early detection radar as part of the Administration’s “”Phased Adaptive Approach.”[i]
Czech Republic’s Air Defense Capabilities
|System||Role||Number Deployed||Country of Origin|
|2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainful)||Short-Range Air Defense||Unknown||Soviet Union|
|9M32 Strela-2 (SA-7 Grail)||Short-Range Air Defense||Unknown||Soviet Union|
|9K33 Osa (SA-8 Gecko)||Short-Range Air Defense||Unknown||Soviet Union|
|9K35 Strela-10 (SA-13 Gopher)||Short-Range Air Defense||Unknown||Soviet Union|
|M53/59 Praga||Short-Range Air Defense||Unknown||Czech Republic|
|VERA S/M||Passive surveillance air radar system (400-500 km range)||Two||Czech Republic|
In 2011, the Czech Republic refused the offer from the Obama Administration to host the early warning radar system.[ii] A former Czech Ambassador to the United States, speaking to NATO defense ministers, described the agreements as a “a consolation prize” and that “our ideas about the future cooperation are more colorful than just a room or two with some screens there,” according the New York Times. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Williams Lynn remarked at the time that the agreement had been “overtaken by events”
In 2014, the Czech Defense Ministry announced plans to acquire five mobile 3D Radio-locators for air defense by 2017. Sensors being considered are the GM200, ELM-2084 MMR, and Giraffe 4A.[iii] The country is also looking to acquire modern medium-range air defense systems to accompany its older Soviet-era systems.
In 2018, the Czech Defense Minister announced that the Czech Army has decided to acquire eight Israeli airspace monitoring radars. These radars are planned to be acquired and integrated over the period between 2019 and 2021.[iv]
In May 2023, the Czech Republic announced plans to send Ukraine two Kub air defense systems and missiles.
Most recently, in October 2023, the Czech Republic confirmed the purchase of $120 million in air-to-air missiles from Rafael Systems. The I-Derby ER missiles are expected to arrive by 2027 and will complement the current Spyder short-range systems in place in the Czech Republic which are expected to be operational by 2026.
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