The Austrian arms-maker Steyr will make the first Pandur II armoured personnel carrier for the Czech military...
The Austrian arms-maker Steyr will make the first Pandur II armoured personnel carrier for the Czech military next April, company representative Herwig Jedlaucnik announced on Monday.
The production was to start earlier, but the Czech Defence Ministry signed the contract on the delivery of 200 APCs with an almost 2-month delay, only at the beginning of this June, Jedlaucnik said.
The Czech army will include the first 17 APCs in combat version with a 30-mm cannon in its arsenals at the end of next year. In 2008-2012 further models will be supplied - command, reconnaissance, anti-aircraft, artillery, mortar, medical and a military police model.
The contract between outgoing Defence Minister Karel Kuehl (Freedom Union, US-DEU) and Steyr representatives on June 9.
Kuehnl will end as minister soon as the US-DEU has failed to enter parliament in the June 2-3 elections. The contract will thus be carried out by his successor. Kuehnl´s step has been criticised by the election-winning Civic Democrats (ODS).
ODS shadow defence minister Petr Necas said he agrees with the Czech military’s equipment being modernised to include new modern APCs. However, it is unprecedented that the contract has been signed by a representative of a party whose election debacle ousted it from parliament, he said.
The ODS will respect the contract, nevertheless, Necas added.