The United States will donate eight Bell helicopters to the Czech Republic, Prague’s Defense Minister Jana Černochová said.
Speaking to Czech TV on Thursday night, Černochová said that Washington will give the Czech Republic, a NATO ally, six defense helicopters and two transport choppers, in addition to the delivery of 12 helicopters previously ordered. The aircraft should arrive in 2023.
The helicopters will be a gift, except for the costs of transfer and modernization, the U.S. embassy confirmed in a tweet late Thursday. “Together we make our alliance more powerful and more able to support [Ukraine] in its fight for freedom!,” the embassy added.
Černochová said that the gift came in response to Prague’s “clear and unwavering stance since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
“Not only have we gained the respect of our allies thanks to our commitment to helping Ukraine, but we have also gained their support in modernizing our military,” she said, according to the Czech outlet Hospodářské noviny.
Prague plans to boost its military spending by recruiting hundreds more soldiers and by buying new combat vehicles, helicopters and ammunition in order to meet NATO allies’ commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, the ministries of finance and defense said earlier this week.