The Czech Republic produced and exported a record number of Czech armaments in 2016, up 30% from the previous year. The increased exports brought in revenues of around 750 million euros.
President of the Association of Defense and Security Industry of the Czech Republic, Jiří Hynek, announced the figures on Monday, but also warned that output would not increase in 2017 as the factories were at maximum capacity. Hynek also stated that they had limited staff available in the factories, which has hindered plans for increases in production.
“There will be a slight increase this year, but not so rapid as 2016. Manufacturers are the limits of their production capacity, and most will fail to recruit new people. The demand is very high, but the producers are not able to fulfill the demands.” – Jiří Hynek
One Czech manufacturer, Aero Vodochody, recently began to export a fighter plane, the L-159. According to Wikipedia, The Aero L-159 ALCA is a light subsonic attack jet and advanced trainer produced in the Czech Republic. The successful export of this product has increased the countries market share in the area of aviation. Blank bullets have also seen a dramatic increase in sales.
Some left-wing groups expressed concern that the Czech Republic is sending increased amounts of weaponry to unstable countries such as Iraq, at a time of increased international tension. Some were dismayed that we would be supplying Middle Eastern countries and those weapons could be in use at this very moment,
Where did the weapons go?
Obviously, we can’t just sell weapons to anyone who asks for them, and contracts are subject to stringent government approvals, but you might be wondering where all these sold weapons went. Just over a quarter, 28%, went to other European governments and trading partners, but the biggest individual buyer of Czech weapons was Iraq, presumably as it looks to rebuild its army to finally defeat ISIS. The USA was the second biggest buyer, spending 1.1 billion crowns.
Different buyers brought different types of weapons, as 86,736 revolvers and self-loading pistols were shipped off to the United States and to South Africa and Canada. 71,533 long barreled weapons were exported, with many going to countries in the Middle East.
The Czech Republic reportedly has a license to sell weapons to 226 legal entities and two individual groups. Whilst not increasing in production volume this year, the Czech armament ministry does aim to diversify and expand operations, beginning production of self-propelled howitzers and armored personnel carriers.