Military of the Czech Republic

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Army of the Czech Republic
Armáda České republiky
Logo of the Czech Armed Forces.svg Czech roundel.svg
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 18,000 soldiers and 7,530 civilians.[2]
Reserve personnel 1200[3]
Budget CZK 47,8 billion (2016)
Percent of GDP 1.03% (2016)[4][5]
Domestic suppliers
Foreign suppliers

The Army of the Czech Republic (Czech: Armáda České republiky) comprise the Czech 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 12 March 1999.[15]


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 soldier discusses patrol routes with a Czech Army soldier (left)

From 1954[citation needed] until 1990, the Army was known as the Czechoslovak People's Army (ČSLA).[16] 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."[17] 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.[18]

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 vz. 58 assault rifle or the Uk vz. 59 machine gun were of Czechoslovak design.

After 1992 (dissolution of Czechoslovakia)

Czech BVP-2 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,[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] The government announced an increase of the budget for the military, depending on the growth of the economy.[citation needed]


Structure of the Czech Armed Forces. Click to expand.
Military of the Czech Republic is located in Czech Republic
4th Mech Bde (Žatec)
4th Mech Bde (Žatec)
7th Mech Bde (Hranice)
7th Mech Bde (Hranice)
13th Art Rgt (Jince)
13th Art Rgt (Jince)
25th ADA Rgt (Strakonice)
25th ADA Rgt (Strakonice)
53rd Recon Rgt (Opava)
53rd Recon Rgt (Opava)
Czech Army - combat brigade/regiment locations

Structure of the Czech Armed Forces consists of three parts:[22]

  • 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.[23]

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, 2016[24][25]

Equipment Origin Quantity Type Photo Notes
Main battle tanks
T-72M4CZ  Czech Republic 30 Main battle tank Tank T72M4CZ moderna.jpg
T-72M1  Soviet Union 93 Main battle tank Akce Cihelna 2014 H10. T-72 M1.jpg In reserve
IFVs and APCs
Pandur II  Austria 107 Infantry fighting vehicle / Armoured personnel carrier KBV-PZLOK.JPG 20 more on order[26]
BVP-2  Czechoslovakia 185 Infantry fighting vehicle BVP-2 military parade Prague.jpg
BVP-1  Czechoslovakia 139 Infantry fighting vehicle In reserve
BPzV  Czechoslovakia 76 Armoured reconnaissance vehicle
152mm SpGH DANA  Czechoslovakia 86 Self-propelled howitzer Lešany, Vojenské muzeum, bojová technika IV.JPG
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 110 TDi  United Kingdom 114 Light off-road vehicle Land Rover 110 ST Iafeto (2).jpg
Land Rover Defender 130 Kajman  United Kingdom 79 Light off-road vehicle Land Rover 130 Military A4 Kajman-11.jpg
Tatra T 810  Czech Republic 586 Military medium truck Tatra T-810 Czech Army 01.jpg
Tatra T815  Czech Republic 2700[27] Military heavy truck Tatra T815 Army.jpg (4x4, 6x6, 8x8, 10x10 versions)[28]
Dingo 2  Germany 19 Armoured military truck KMW Dingo 1447.JPG
Iveco LMV  Italy 120 Armoured light off road vehicle Iveco LMV-05.jpg
Air-defence systems
2K12 Kub-M2  Soviet Union 4 Batteries[29] Surface-to-air missile 2K12 KUB radiolocator.jpg
9K35 Strela-10M  Soviet Union 16 Surface-to-air missile
RBS 70[28]  Sweden 16 Man-portable air-defense systems RBS-70 VLM.jpg
Combat aircraft and helicopters
JAS 39 Gripen  Sweden 14 Lightweight single-engine multirole fighter
Aero L 159 ALCA  Czech Republic 21 Light attack aircraft L-159 ALCA Czech Air Force.jpg
Mil Mi-24V[30][31]  Russia 17 Attack helicopter Czech Mi-24 CIAF.JPG
Support/Transport aircraft and helicopters
PZL W-3 Sokół  Poland 10 Utility helicopter PZL Swidnik W3A vr.jpg
Mil Mi-8  Soviet Union 4 Transport helicopter CIAF 2015 Mi-8 0835 2.jpg
Mil Mi-17  Soviet Union 5 Transport helicopter Mil Mi-17, Czech Republic - Air Force AN2087553.jpg
Mil Mi-171Sh  Russia 16 Transport / attack helicopter Mi-17 CZ 9887 LKCV.jpg
EADS CASA C-295M  Spain 4 Transport aircraft Nykodym DSC03235A (15094753595).jpg
Let L-410 Turbolet  Czech Republic 8 Light transport and photographic mapping Let L-410FG Turbolet, Czech Republic - Air Force AN1543524.jpg
RQ-11 Raven  United States 2 Unmanned aerial vehicle Raven UAV flying.jpg
Training aircraft and helicopters
Aero L-39 Albatros  Czechoslovakia 9 Jet trainer Nykodym DSC02945A (15215424352).jpg
Zlin Z 142CAF  Czechoslovakia 8 Basic trainer Zlin Z-142C AF, Czech Republic - Air Force AN1648762.jpg
Eurostar EV97  Czech Republic 1 Basic trainer
PZL Mi-2 Hoplite  Poland 2 Trainer helicopter
VIP Transport
Airbus A319CJW  France 2 VIP transport Airbus A319-115X CJ, Czech Republic - Air Force AN1604680.jpg
Yakolev Yak-40 Codling  Soviet Union 2 VIP transport Czech air force yak 40 arp.jpg
Bombardier Challenger 600  Canada 1 VIP transport Canadair Challenger 601-3A Czech Republic - Air Force, LUX Luxembourg (Findel), Luxembourg PP1275922611.jpg

Small arms & hand weapons

Name Country of origin Type Photo Notes
CZ 75  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Pistol 1977 CZ-75.png
Glock pistol  Austria Pistol Glock17.jpg In use by the 601st Special Forces Group and some other units deployed in Afghanistan. Being replaced by CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom for all apart from 601st Special Forces Group.
Škorpion vz. 61  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Submachine gun Skorpion PICT0105.jpg
PDW Škorpion EVO III  Czech Republic Submachine gun CZ Scorpion EVO III.jpg In use by the Prague Castle Guard.
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany Submachine gun MP5.jpg
Heckler & Koch UMP  Germany Submachine gun HKUMP45.JPG Used by military police.
Winchester Model 1200  United States Shotgun Winchester1200Def-1.jpg Model 1300 Defender used in small numbers.
Vz. 52 rifle  Czechoslovakia Rifle VZ 52 Rifle.JPG Used as ceremonial weapon by Prague Castle Guard.
Bushmaster M4A3  United States Carbine M4gery.jpg In use by the 601st Special Forces Group.
Vz. 58  Czechoslovakia Assault rifle Sa 58-JH01.jpg Now in reserve only, replaced with all active units by CZ 805 Bren.
CZ 805 Bren  Czech Republic Assault rifle Cz805.png Standard service rifle (purchases 2012 - 2015).
CZ 806 Bren 2  Czech Republic Assault rifle Standard service rifle (since 2016).
Mk 48  United States General-purpose machine gun 120px
M60 machine gun  United States General-purpose machine gun M60GPMG.jpeg In use by the 601st Special Forces Group.
Dragunov Sniper Rifle  Soviet Union Designated marksman rifle SVD Dragunov.jpg
Sako TRG  Finland Sniper rifle Sako TRG-42.jpg
CZ 700  Czech Republic Sniper rifle
RPG-7V  Soviet Union Anti-tank grenade launcher RPG-7 detached.jpg
RPG-75  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Anti-tank weapon RPG-75.JPG
Carl Gustav M3  Sweden Recoilless rifle Carl Gustav recoilless rifle.jpg
FGM-148 Javelin  United States Anti-tank missile launcher FGM-148 Javelin - ID DM-SD-01-05584.JPEG An additional order totalling US$10.21 million was placed in December 2015 for an unknown amount of missiles and launchers.


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)



  2. "Personnel Size 2014"
  3. "Armádní aktivní zálohy by se měly stát poloprofesionálním sborem". Retrieved 7 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Defence Budget 2014"
  5. "NATO Defence Expenditure: 2009 - 2013" August 14, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 "Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Trade Register"
  15. "Military Balance in Europe 2011"., March 07, 2011.
  16. For more information on the Czechoslovak Army during the Cold War, see Gordon L. Rottman, Warsaw Pact Ground Forces, Osprey Publishing, 1987
  17. Library of Congress Country Study: Czechoslovakia, Ground Forces, 1987
  18., Warsaw Pact Order of Battle 1989, accessed 2 June 2010
  19. "Starting points for professionalization of the armed forces" (in Czech). 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-27.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "New management and command structure of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic as of 1 July 2013". Ministerstvo obrany. Retrieved 6 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. - webové stránky praporu
  24. "Equipment Size 2016"
  25. "Vehicle and aircraft holdings within the scope of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty 2014" May 15, 2014
  27. "Celá historie naší armády je spojena se značkou Tatra" (in Czech). Army of the Czech Republic official website. Retrieved December 14, 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. 28.0 28.1
  30. "Tank Mil Mi-24 - NATO code: HIND". Army of the Czech Republic official website. Retrieved December 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

External links