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Military of the Czech Republic

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Military of the Czech Republic

Army of the Czech Republic
Armáda České republiky
The coat of arms and roundel
Founded 30 June 1918
Current form 1 January 1993
Service branches Land Forces Land Forces
Czech Air ForceCzech Air Force
Headquarters Prague,  Czech Republic
Commander-in-Chief President of the Republic Miloš Zeman
Minister of Defense Martin Stropnický
Chief of staff Chief of the General Staff: Army general Josef Bečvář[1]
Military age 18 years of age
Conscription Abolished in 2004
Available for
military service
2,414,728, age 15–49 (2005 est.)
Fit for
military service
1,996,631, age 15–49 (2005 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
66,583 (2005 est.)
Active personnel 21,011 soldiers and 7,530 civilians.[2]
Reserve personnel 1300[3]
Budget CZK 41,990 millions (2014)
Percent of GDP 1.08% (2014)[4][5]
Foreign suppliers  Germany
 United States

The Army of the Czech Republic (NATO on 12 March 1999.[7]


The Czechoslovak Armed Forces were originally formed on 30 June 1918 when 6.000 members of the Czechoslovak legion, which had been established in 1914, took oath and received a battle banner in Darney, France, thus preceding the official declaration of Czechoslovak independence by four months. The military achievements of the Czechoslovak legions on the French, Italian and especially Russian front became one of the main arguments that the Czechoslovak pro-independence leaders could use to gain the support for the country's independence by the Allies of World War I.

Following the downfall of Czechoslovakia and occupation of its Czech part by Nazi Germany in 1939, a number of Czechoslovak units and formations served with the Polish Army (Czechoslovak Legion), the French Army, the Royal Air Force, the British Army (the 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade), and the Red Army (I Corps). Four Czech and Slovak-manned RAF squadrons were transferred to Czechoslovak control in late 1945.

Croatian Army Master Sgt.(right) discusses patrol routes with a Czech Army Sgt. (left) in Germany to prepare for Afghanistan, 2012

From 1954 until 1990, the Army was known as the Czechoslovak People's Army (ČSLA).[8] Although the ČSLA, as formed in 1945, included both Soviet- and British-equipped/trained expatriate troops, the "Western" soldiers had been purged from the ČSLA after 1948 when the communists took power. The ČSLA offered no resistance to the invasion mounted by the Soviets in 1968 in reaction to the "Prague Spring", and was extensively reorganized by the Soviets following the re-imposition of conservative communist rule in Prague.

"Of the approximately 201,000 personnel on active duty in the ČSLA in 1987, about 145,000, or about 72 percent, served in the ground forces (commonly referred to as the army). About 100,000 of these were conscripts."[9] There were two military districts, Western and Eastern. A 1989 listing of forces shows two Czechoslovak armies in the west, the 1st at Příbram with one tank division and three motor rifle divisions, the 4th at Písek with two tank divisions and two motor rifle divisions. In the Eastern Military District, there were two tank divisions, the 13th and 14th, with a supervisory headquarters at Trenčín in the Slovak part of the country.[10]

During the Cold War, the ČSLA was equipped primarily with Soviet arms, although certain arms like the OT-64 SKOT armored personnel carrier, the L-29 Delfín and L-39 Albatros aircraft, the P-27 Pancéřovka antitank rocket launcher, the Sa vz. 58 assault rifle or the Uk vz. 59 machine gun were of Czechoslovak design.

After 1992 (dissolution of Czechoslovakia)

Czech BVP2 firing in Afghanistan
Czech Army Soldiers to participate in exercise Combined Resolve at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany

The Army of the Czech Republic was formed after the Czechoslovak Armed Forces split after the 1 January 1993 dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Czech forces stood at 90,000 in 1993. They were reduced to around 65,000 in 11 combat brigades and the Air Force in 1997, to 63,601 in 1999,[11] and to 35,000 in 2005. At the same time, the forces were modernized and reoriented towards a defensive posture. In 2004, the army transformed itself into a fully professional organization and compulsory military service was abolished. The Army maintains an active reserve.

The IFOR, SFOR, and EUFOR Althea in Bosnia, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Albania, Turkey, Pakistan and with the Coalition forces in Iraq.

Current deployments (as of 2010):

  • Kosovo: NATO Operation "Joint Enterprise" (KFOR) - 450 soldiers
  • Afghanistan: NATO Operation (ISAF) - 458 soldiers, 12 civilian experts and 3 Mi-171S helicopters in Faizabad, Logar and Paktika provinces.
  • Somalia: EU Operation Atalanta (NAVFOR) - 3 soldiers
  • DR Congo: UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC) - 3 military observers
  • Afghanistan: UN peacekeeping mission (UNAMA) - 1 military observer
  • Kosovo: UN peacekeeping mission (UNMIK) - 1 military observer

In February 2010, Czech media started to speculate about possible corruption around the purchase of Pandur II vehicles for the Czech Army.[12]

At present, the military of the Czech Republic is considered heavily underfunded, with too few armoured vehicles and aircraft, and even shortages of ammunition for infantry weapons. Some military equipment for the infantry has been purchased in civilian shops by personal expenditures of soldiers.[13] The government announced an increase of the budget for the military, depending on the growth of the economy.


Structure of the Czech Armed Forces. Click to expand.

Structure of the Czech Armed Forces consists of three parts:[14]

  • General Staff of Czech Armed Forces (Praha)

The 153rd Engineer Battalion based in Olomouc was created on 15 October 2008 and is subordinated to the 15th Engineer Regiment. The unit is stationed in the outskirts of the city of Olomouc, in place of the canceled 156th Rescue Battalion.[15]

Active reserves

Active Reserve (in Czech Aktivní záloha) is a part of the otherwise professional Army of the Czech Republic. This service was created to allow the participation of citizens with a positive attitude to the military.

A volunteer needs either to have completed the compulsory military service (which ended in 2004) or to attend 8 week training. Then the reservists have to serve up to three weeks a year and can be called up to serve two weeks during a non-military crisis. They are not intended to serve abroad. The Reserve presents itself on events like BAHNA, a military show.


Equipment numbers as of January 1, 2014[17][18]

Equipment Origin Quantity Type Notes
Main battle tanks
T-72M4CZ  Czech Republic 30 Main battle tank
T-72M1  Czechoslovakia 93 Main battle tank In reserve
IFVs and APCs
BVP-2 174 Infantry fighting vehicle
BVP-1  Czechoslovakia 139 Infantry fighting vehicle
BPzV  Czechoslovakia 76 Armoured reconnaissance vehicle
OT-90  Czechoslovakia 17 Armoured tracked personnel carrier Being phased out
OT-64  Czechoslovakia
5 Armoured personnel carrier Being phased out
Pandur II  Austria 107 Infantry fighting vehicle / Armoured personnel carrier
152mm SpGH DANA  Czechoslovakia 86 Self-propelled howitzer
M1982 PRAM-L 120mm  Czechoslovakia 85 Towed mortar
SPM-85 PRAM-S 120mm  Czechoslovakia 8 Self-propelled mortar
ARTHUR Artillery Tracking Radar  Sweden 3 Artillery tracking radar
Non armoured vehicles
Land Rover Defender  United Kingdom 114 Light off-road vehicle
Land Rover Defender 130 Kajman  United Kingdom 79 Light off-road vehicle
Tatra T 810  Czech Republic 588 Military truck
Tatra T815  Czech Republic 1000+ Military heavy truck (4x4, 6x6, 8x8, 10x10 versions)[19]
Dingo 2  Germany 19 Armoured military truck
Iveco LMV  Italy 110 Armoured light off road vehicle
Air-defence systems
2K12 Kub-M2 4 Batteries[20] Surface-to-air missile
9K35 Strela-10M  Soviet Union 16 Surface-to-air missile
RBS 70[19]  Sweden 16 Man-portable air-defense systems
Combat aircraft and helicopters
JAS 39 Gripen  Sweden 14 Lightweight single-engine multirole fighter
Aero L 159 ALCA  Czech Republic 25 Light attack aircraft
Mil Mi-35  Russia 17 Attack helicopter
Support/Transport aircraft and helicopters
PZL W-3 Sokół  Poland 10 Utility helicopter
Mil Mi-8  Soviet Union 4 Transport helicopter
Mil Mi-17  Soviet Union 5 Transport helicopter
Mil Mi-171Sh  Russia 16 Transport / attack helicopter
EADS CASA C-295M  Spain 4 Transport aircraft
Let L-410 Turbolet  Czech Republic 8 Light transport and photographic mapping
Sojka III  Czech Republic 1+ Unmanned aerial vehicle
Training aircraft and helicopters
Aero L-39 Albatros  Czechoslovakia 9 Jet trainer
Zlin Z 142CAF  Czechoslovakia 8 Basic trainer
Eurostar EV97  Czech Republic 1 Basic trainer
PZL Mi-2 Hoplite  Poland 2 Trainer helicopter
VIP Transport
Airbus A319CJW  France 2 VIP transport
Yakolev Yak-40 Codling  Soviet Union 2 VIP transport
Bombardier Challenger 600  Canada 1 VIP transport

Small arms & hand weapons

Name Country of origin Type Notes
CZ 75  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Glock pistol  Austria Pistol In use by the 601. skss and some other units deployed in Afghanistan. Being replaced by CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom for all apart from 601st SFG.
Škorpion vz. 61  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Submachine gun
PDW Škorpion EVO III  Czech Republic Submachine gun In use by the Prague Castle Guard.
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany Submachine gun
Heckler & Koch UMP  Germany Submachine gun Used by military police.
Winchester Model 1200  United States Shotgun Model 1300 Defender used in small numbers
Vz. 52 rifle  Czechoslovakia Rifle Used as ceremonial weapon by Prague Castle Guard
Bushmaster M4A3  United States Carbine In use by the 601. skupina speciálních sil generála Moravce
Sa vz. 58  Czechoslovakia Assault rifle Now in reserve only, fully replaced with all active units by CZ 805 Bren
CZ 805 Bren  Czech Republic Assault rifle Standard service rifle
Mk 48  United States General-purpose machine gun
M60 machine gun  United States General-purpose machine gun In use by the 601. skss
Dragunov Sniper Rifle  Soviet Union Designated marksman rifle
Sako TRG  Finland Sniper rifle
CZ 700  Czech Republic Sniper rifle
RPG-7V  Soviet Union Anti-tank grenade launcher
RPG-75  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Anti-tank weapon
Carl Gustav M3  Sweden Recoilless rifle
FGM-148 Javelin  United States Anti-tank missile launcher


Different types of Czech Army uniforms:

Commanding officers

The current Chief of the General Staff of the Military of the Czech Republic Josef Bečvář.
  • Chief of the General Staff: Army General Josef Bečvář
  • First Deputy Chief of the General Staff: Major General Miroslav Žižka
  • Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the AČR-Chief of Staff: Major General Bohuslav Dvořák
  • Deputy Chief of the General Staff - Director of Joint Operation Centre: Major General Aleš Opata
  • Deputy Chief of the General Staff - Inspector of the AČR: Major General František Malenínský
    • Immediately Subordinated Offices:
    • Military Regional Office, Boletice
    • Military Regional Office, Brdy
    • Military Regional Office, Březina
    • Military Regional Office, Hradiště
    • Military Regional Office, Libavá
  • Support Policy Division: Director Major General Pavel Jevula
    • Immediately Subordinated Institutions:
    • Central Military Hospital, Prague
    • Military Hospital, Brno
    • Military Hospital, Olomouc
    • Institute of Aviation Medicine, Prague
  • Communication and Information Systems Division:Director - Chief of the Signal Corps of AČR: Colonel Jan Kaše
    • Immediately Subordinated Institutions:
    • 6th Communication Centre
    • Research and Communication Centre 080
    • Information Technology Development Agency
  • Force Planning Division: Acting Director Colonel František Mičánek
  • Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Department: Director Colonel Miroslav Žižka
    • Immediately Subordinated Office:
    • Military Geography and Hydrometeorology Office
  • Military Aviation Authority: Director Colonel Josef Otta

Current and historic military ranks

These are the military ranks, historic and present-day, of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic and its predecessor force, the Czechoslovak Armed Forces, later known as the People's Army.

Enlisted and non-commissioned officers

  • Vojín - Private, Airman
  • Svobodník - Private First Class, Airman First Class
  • Desátník - Corporal, Senior Airman
  • Četař - Sergeant
  • Četař jednoroční dobrovolník - Volunteer Sergeant (used 1919-1920)
  • Rotný - Staff Sergeant (formerly Sikovatel from 1919-20)
  • Štábní šikovatel - Company Sergeant Major (used 1918-1920)
  • Staršina - Platoon Sergeant, Flight sergeant (part of the rank system 1948-1959)
  • Rotmistr - Sergeant First Class, Technical Sergeant
  • Nadrotmistr - Master Sergeant
  • Štábní rotmistr - First Sergeant (abolished 2011)

Warrant officers

Officer cadets and military school cadets

  • Kadet Aspirant - Officer cadet (used 1919-1920)
  • Gážista mimo hodnostní třídu - Reserve Officer Candidate (used 1919-1920)



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Personnel Size 2014"
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Defence Budget 2014"
  5. ^ NATO Defence Expenditure: 2009 - 2013" August 14, 2014
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Military Balance in Europe 2011"., March 07, 2011.
  8. ^ For more information on the Czechoslovak Army during the Cold War, see Gordon L. Rottman, Warsaw Pact Ground Forces, Osprey Publishing, 1987
  9. ^ Library of Congress Country Study: Czechoslovakia, Ground Forces, 1987
  10. ^, Warsaw Pact Order of Battle 1989, accessed 2 June 2010
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ - webové stránky praporu
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Equipment Size 2014"
  18. ^ Vehicle and aircraft holdings within the scope of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty 2014" May 15, 2014
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^

Further reading

  • Stephane Lefebvre, 'The Army of the Czech Republic: A Status Report,' Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 8, No. 4, December 1995, pp. 718–751
  • Vol. 39, No. 3, pp. 450-466Armed Forces & Society,Tomáš Weiss, 'Fighting Wars or Controlling Crowds? The Case of the Czech Military Forces and the Possible Blurring of Police and Military Functions,

External links

  • (English) Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic
  • (Czech) Information Center about NATO
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