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The US State Department has approved a potential Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Czech Republic in relation to the refurbishment and modernisation of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters being offered to the country as Excess Defense Articles, the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency announced on 3 May 2023. 

The sale, which is worth up to USD 650 M (EUR 587.3 M), is now with the US Congress for approval. 

In August 2022 it was confirmed that the US government would donate six AH-1Zs and two UH-1Ys to the Czech Republic. These would be added to the four AH-1Zs and eight UH-1Ys that the Czechs had already ordered. 

The resulting fleet of 10 AH-1Zs and 10 UH-1Ys will replace the Czech Air Force’s ageing fleet of Soviet-designed Mi-24V/35 ‘Hind’ assault helicopters. 

A US Marine Corps (USMC) UH-1Y Venom prepares to land beside a USMC AH-1Z Viper on the Australian landing helicopter dock HMAS Canberra on 1 August 2022. The Czech Air Force will ultimately field 10 of each of these helicopters. (Photo: RAN)

In this latest FMS deal the Czech government is therefore seeking to buy equipment and services that include: 22 T-700 GE 401C engines (16 installed and six spares); 14 Honeywell Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGIs) with Precise Positioning Service (eight installed and six spares); four M240 machine guns; and 24 ARC-210 COMSEC radios.  

Also included in the deal is communication equipment; electronic warfare systems; support equipment; spare engine containers; flight training devices; a composite maintenance trainer; spare and repair parts; tools and test equipment; US government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and programme support.  

Peter Felstead