ÚOHS in Czechia Fines Defence Ministry

ÚOHS in Czechia Fines Defence Ministry
ÚOHS in Czechia Fines Defence Ministry

The defence was fined half a billion for a tender for army helicopters. The Office for the Protection of Competition (Úřad pro Ochranu Hospodářské Soutěže /ÚOHS) in Czechia imposed a fine of CZK 550 million on the Ministry of Defence for errors in the contract for army helicopters.

The ministry bought helicopters from the US Company Bell for CZK 17 billion. The office informed about it today in a press release. The fine is not final, the ministry has announced that it will file an appeal against it with the chairman of the office.

Office for the Protection of Competition (Úřad pro Ochranu Hospodářské Soutěže)

"The ministry committed the offense by concluding an agreement with the United States government to purchase multi-purpose military helicopters in violation of the law before deciding on the objections of the Italian company Leonardo, which is a manufacturer of military helicopters," said Martin Švanda, a spokesman for the office.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, and Czech Republic Minister of Defence, Lubomir Metnar, sign a Letter of Offer and Acceptance

The Ministry of Defence stated that it did not agree with the decision. "The Ministry of Defence considers the set fine to be unacceptable. If, unlike the Ministry of Defence, the Office came to the legal opinion that the objection was justified, it should also take into account the fact that it was an obstructive objection and set a symbolic fine, "said ministry spokesman Jan Pejšek.

The Antimonopoly Office has been dealing with the tender since last February at the proposal of the Italian company Leonardo, which demanded the imposition of a ban on the performance of the contract for approximately 17 billion crowns. (approximately 795 million USD ) Although the office rejected the Italian company's proposal in August, it pointed out that the ministry had made a mistake in the contract. Although it received objections to the tender from Leonardo on November 20 last year, it signed the contract with the winner the very next day. The objections were not decided until last December 5. It was because of this error that the Office conducted misdemeanour proceedings with the Ministry.

UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper

Last year, the Ministry of Defence decided to buy 12 military helicopters, which will replace Russian Mi-24/35 combat helicopters in the Czech army's arsenal. The American company Bell will supply Czech soldiers for 17.6 billion crowns, eight multi-purpose UH-1Y Venom helicopters and four AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters.

The Italian offer for Agusta AW 139M machines was cheaper, but according to the ministry it had shortcomings. For example, the machines did not meet the military requirement for testing in operations.


Bell anticipates the delivery of the first H-1 aircraft to the Czech Republic will begin in 2023 and complete delivery by 2024.