Elbit Systems to Establish Drone Production Center in Czech Republic

The Israeli firm is working with Czech company LPP for this project
  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 08:29 AM, October 31, 2023
  • 1386
Elbit Systems to Establish Drone Production Center in Czech Republic
Hermes 900 @Elbit Systems

Israel’s Elbit Systems is set to embark on a project to create a new drone production and training facility in Czech Republic.

This endeavor, a first of its kind for Elbit in the European sector of NATO, is in collaboration with Czech company, LPP, known for its civil and military avionics, autonomous control systems, thermal imaging cameras, and sights.

Radim Petráš, e15 sales director and co-owner of LPP, emphasized, "We are already doing business in the field of drones. It's an opportunity to extend top technologies and qualifications to our development and production as well as towards customers." Such collaboration could lead to the integration and development of Israeli and Czech unmanned systems, including aerial and ground vehicles, and elements of artificial intelligence.

Elbit Systems, a major supplier of drones to the Israeli military and a company employing over 18,000 professionals worldwide, is eager to bring its expertise and technology to Central Europe. In partnership with LPP, the establishment of this center is expected to generate dozens of new job opportunities in the Czech Republic.

Potential locations for the development center include the spacious site in Pardubice, acquired by LPP through the purchase of T-CZ, a company specializing in radar and radio communication equipment.

Elbit's portfolio encompasses a wide range of drones, from compact vertical take-off and landing devices to the Hermes 900, boasting a 1.2-ton weight and a 15-meter wingspan. The company also makes superior sensors, cameras, and electronic warfare systems, all of which will be developed, manufactured, integrated, and repaired within the Czech Republic, catering to the specific needs of Central European clients.

Furthermore, the drone center is poised to offer training on simulators, nurturing a new generation of skilled operators. Elbit Systems is already engaged in serious negotiations with the armed forces of Poland and Slovakia, with the Czech Republic also expressing interest in procuring an increased number of new drones.

"The volume and size of the transfer of Israeli technologies is related to the number of orders that Elbit will get in Central Europe," Petráš stated, highlighting the importance of this development for the region.

This endeavor comes on the heels of the Czech Defense Ministry's recent decision to focus on smaller autonomous devices, such as quadcopters and twenty-kilogram drones, as opposed to larger Heron 1 drones, previously planned for purchase from a competitor. It reflects the evolving priorities of military operations, with smaller drones catering to surveillance and reconnaissance units, air defense, artillery, and engineer brigades within the army.

The Czech army currently employs various models, ranging from lightweight devices to slightly larger ScanEagle drones, manufactured by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing.

Nonetheless, the modernization project, valued at hundreds of millions of crowns, remains in the preliminary stage. Simona Cigánková from the Ministry of Defence's press department explains that the arms division is currently awaiting technical specifications from the army before proceeding with further steps.

"The arming section is waiting for technical specifications from the army, only then will it be able to take further steps," Cigánková said.

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