March 27, 2018 / 1:07 PM / 6 months ago

Czech Republic planning $2.6 bln military vehicle tender

PRAGUE, March 27 (Reuters) - The Czech Defence Ministry will launch a tender for tracked infantry fighting vehicles worth 53 billion crowns ($2.58 billion) around the middle of this year, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

“The winner should be known at the end of 2018 or by mid-2019 at the latest,” spokeswoman Jana Zechmeisterova said, adding that the vehicles would be delivered from 2020 to 2024.

The tender may involve General Dynamics’ ASCOD vehicle, BAE Systems’ CV 90, and Rheinmetall’s Lynx or Puma infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), Czech media reported.

General Dynamics has already delivered 107 Pandur armed personnel carriers (APC) to the Czech army.

The contract for around 210 vehicles could be the Czech Republic’s largest single military buy as the NATO member country struggles to meet the alliance’s goal to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence.

NATO’s 2017 annual report showed Estonia, Greece, Poland and Britain met the 2 percent goal, the same group as in 2016, although alliance officials say Latvia, Lithuania and Romania will join them in 2018. NATO has 29 member states in total.

$1 = 20.5650 Czech crowns Reporting by Robert Muller; editing by Jason Neely

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