Bell expects its anticipated UH-1Y Venom utility and assault helicopter sale to the Czech Republic to proceed now that the country’s presidential elections have been concluded.
With the sale of 12 helicopters to the Eastern European nation having already been approved by the US government, a senior Bell official told Jane’s on 10 May that the election has delayed the process somewhat, but that now it has concluded the way is clear to finalise the deal.
“But for the elections in the Czech Republic this deal would have already been done,” Bell’s Director Global Military Business Development Europe, Joel Best, said. “With all the new people coming in, it just takes time for the government to sort through the processes. That’s where we are at with the Czech Republic right now.”
The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic (Vzdusné Síly Armády Ceské Republiky: VS ACR) has a pressing need to replace many of its Warsaw Pact-era inventories, which include Mil Mi-2 'Hoplite', Mi-8/17 'Hip', and Mi-24 'Hind' helicopters.
According to various sources, a Czech Ministry of Defence and ACR experts' commission recommended the purchase of the UH-1Y, and in October 2017 the US State Department cleared the sale of the platform and associated weapons and other equipment to the country to satisfy its requirements. This approval came about 17 months after Bell had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Czech industry in support of the company’s push to secure its first export sale of the UH-1Y.
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