Military of the Czech Republic

Military of the Czech Republic
Military of the Czech Republic
Armáda České republiky
Logo of the Czech Armed Forces.svg Czech roundel.svg
The coat of arms and roundel
Founded c.1918
Current form 1993
Service branches Land Forces, Czech Air Force
Commander-in-Chief President of the Republic Václav Klaus
Chief of staff Chief of the General Staff: General Vlastimil Picek
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 23,136 military and 9,017 civilian employees [1]
Reserve personnel 1200 [2]
Budget CZK 48.8 (2010)
Percent of GDP 1.32% (2010)[3]
Foreign suppliers Russia, United States, Germany

The Army of the Czech Republic (Czech: Armáda České republiky) comprise the land forces, the Czech Air Force and support units. From the late 1940s to 1989, the extensive Czechoslovak Armed Forces (about 200,000) formed one of the pillars of the Warsaw Pact military alliance. After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic is completing a major reorganisation and reduction of the armed forces, which intensified after the Czech Republic joined NATO on March 12, 1999.



The Czechoslovak Armed Forces were originally formed after 1918. Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1938, 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.

From 1945 until 1990, the Army was known as the Czechoslovak People's Army (ČSLA).[4] Although the ČSLA, as formed in 1945, included both Soviet- and British-sponsored expatriate troops, the British-sponsored soldiers had been purged from the ČSLA by 1948. 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 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."[5] There were two military districts, Western and Eastern. A 1989 listing of forces shows two Czech armies in the west, the 1st at Pribram with one tank division and three motor rifle divisions, the 4th at Pisek 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 Trencin in the east of the country.[6]

During the Cold War, the ČSLA was equipped primarily with Soviet arms, although certain arms like the P-27 Panceřovka antitank rocket launcher and the SKOT armored personnel carrier were of Czechoslovak design.

Czech BVP2 firing in Afghanistan

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,[7] 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 Czech Republic is a member of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Since 1990, the ACR and the Czech Armed Forces have contributed to numerous peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, including 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.[8]


Structure of the Czech Armed Forces consists of three parts:

Structure of the Czech Armed Forces

4th Mech Bde (Žatec) is located in Czech Republic
4th Mech Bde (Žatec)
7th Mech Bde (Hranice)
13th Art Bde (Jince)
25th ADA Bde (Strakonice)
53rd Recon Bde (Opava)
Czech Army - combat brigade locations

The 153rd Engineer Battalion based in Olomouc was created on 15. October 2008 and is subordinated to the 15th Engineer Brigade, Joint Forces Command. The unit is stationed in the outskirts of the city of Olomouc, in place of the canceled 156th Rescue Battalion.[9]

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 participation of citizens with 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 to serve two weeks in time of non-military crisis. They are not intended to serve abroad. The Reserve presents itself on events like BAHNA, a military show.


Assault rifle Sa vz. 58.
Czech modernized T-72.
Czech BVP-2 on a Military parade in Prague, 28 October 2008.
Armored Czech Tatra 813 truck as rocket launcher.
ShKH Ondava: 152mm Self-propelled cannon howitzer
Czech Air Force PZL W-3A

Equipment numbers as of July 1, 2008:[10]

Main battle tanks:

IFVs and APCs:


Non armoured vehicles:

Air-defence systems:

Combat aircraft and helicopters:

Support/transport aircraft and helicopters:

Training aircraft and helicopters:

VIP transport

Small arms & hand weapons:


Different types of Czech Army uniforms:

Commanding officers

  • Chief of the General Staff: Lieutenant General Vlastimil Picek
  • Chief of the General Staff Office: Colonel Milan Šeiner
  • First Deputy Chief of the General Staff: Lieutenant General Jaroslav Kolkus
  • Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the ACR-Chief of Staff: Lieutenant General František Hrabal
  • Deputy Chief of the General Staff - Director of JOC (Operations Commander): Major General Josef Prokš
  • Director of Division for Development of Forces Branches - Operations Division: Brigadier General Josef Bečvář
    • 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 ACR: 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


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

External links

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