Czechs to acquire Israeli air defense system in $400M deal

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic wants to buy a new air defense system for its military from the Israeli government, the 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.

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

It would replace an obsolete ant-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.