Army of the Czech Republic

This article is about the armed forces of the Czech Republic. For the land-based military branch, see Czech Land Forces.
Army of the Czech Republic
Armáda České republiky

The coat of arms and roundel
Current form 1 January 1993
Service branches Czech Land Forces
Czech Air Force
Headquarters Prague,  Czech Republic
President of the Republic Miloš Zeman
Minister of Defense Martin Stropnický
Chief of the General Staff 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 21,970 soldiers and 7,542 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[nb 1] (Czech: Armáda České republiky, AČR) comprise the Czech Land Forces, the Czech Air Force and support units. From the late 1940s to 1989, the extensive Czechoslovak People's Army (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]

As defined by the Czech Law No. 219/1999 Coll., the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic (Czech: Ozbrojené síly České republiky) are the military forces of the Czech Republic. They consist of the Army of the Czech Republic, the Military Office of President of the Republic and the Castle Guard.[16]


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[17] until 1990, the Army was known as the Czechoslovak People's Army (ČSLA).[18] 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 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."[19] 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.[20]

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,[21] 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):

In February 2010, Czech media started to speculate about possible corruption around the purchase of Pandur II vehicles for the Czech Army.[22]


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

Structure of the Czech Armed Forces consists of two parts:[23]

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.[24]

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[25][26]

Equipment Origin Quantity Type Photo Notes
Main battle tanks
T-72M4CZ  Czech Republic 30 Main battle tank
T-72M1  Soviet Union 93 Main battle tank In reserve
IFVs and APCs
Pandur II  Austria 107 Infantry fighting vehicle / Armoured personnel carrier 20 more on order[27]
BVP-2  Czechoslovakia 185 Infantry fighting vehicle
BVP-1  Czechoslovakia 139 Infantry fighting vehicle In reserve
BPzV  Czechoslovakia 76 Armoured reconnaissance vehicle
152mm SpGH DANA  Czechoslovakia 86 Self-propelled howitzer
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 Defender 130 Kajman  United Kingdom 79 Light off-road vehicle
Tatra T 810  Czech Republic 586 Military medium truck
Tatra T815  Czech Republic 2700[28] Military heavy truck (4x4, 6x6, 8x8, 10x10 versions)[29]
Dingo 2  Germany 19 Armoured military truck
Iveco LMV  Italy 120 Armoured light off road vehicle
Air-defence systems
2K12 Kub-M2  Soviet Union 4 Batteries[30] Surface-to-air missile
9K35 Strela-10M  Soviet Union 16 Surface-to-air missile
RBS 70[29]  Sweden 16 Man-portable air-defense systems
Combat aircraft and helicopters
JAS 39 Gripen  Sweden 14 Lightweight single-engine multirole fighter
Aero L 159 ALCA  Czech Republic 21 Light attack aircraft
Mil Mi-24V[31][32]  Russia 17 Attack helicopter
Support/Transport aircraft and helicopters
PZL W-3 Sokół  Poland 10 Utility helicopter
Mil Mi-8  Soviet Union 4 Transport helicopter
Mil Mi-17  Soviet Union 5 Transport helicopter
Mil Mi-171Sh  Russia 16 Transport / attack helicopter
EADS CASA C-295M  Spain 4 Transport aircraft
Let L-410 Turbolet  Czech Republic 8 Light transport and photographic mapping
RQ-11 Raven  United States 2 Unmanned aerial vehicle
Training aircraft and helicopters
Aero L-39 Albatros  Czechoslovakia 9 Jet trainer
Zlin Z 142CAF  Czechoslovakia 8 Basic trainer
Eurostar EV97  Czech Republic 1 Basic trainer
PZL Mi-2 Hoplite  Poland 2 Trainer helicopter
VIP Transport
Airbus A319CJW  France 2 VIP transport
Yakolev Yak-40 Codling  Soviet Union 2 VIP transport
Bombardier Challenger 600  Canada 1 VIP transport

Small arms & hand weapons

Name Country of origin Type Photo Notes
CZ 75  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Glock pistol  Austria Pistol 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
PDW Škorpion EVO III  Czech Republic Submachine gun In use by the Prague Castle Guard.
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany Submachine gun
Heckler & Koch UMP  Germany Submachine gun Used by military police.
Winchester Model 1200  United States Shotgun Model 1300 Defender used in small numbers.
Vz. 52 rifle  Czechoslovakia Rifle Used as ceremonial weapon by Prague Castle Guard.
Bushmaster M4A3  United States Carbine In use by the 601st Special Forces Group.
Vz. 58  Czechoslovakia Assault rifle Now in reserve only, replaced with all active units by CZ 805 Bren.
CZ 805 Bren  Czech Republic Assault rifle 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
M60 machine gun  United States General-purpose machine gun In use by the 601st Special Forces Group.
Dragunov Sniper Rifle  Soviet Union Designated marksman rifle
Sako TRG  Finland Sniper rifle
CZ 700  Czech Republic Sniper rifle
RPG-7V  Soviet Union Anti-tank grenade launcher
RPG-75  Czechoslovakia
 Czech Republic
Anti-tank weapon
Carl Gustav M3  Sweden Recoilless rifle
FGM-148 Javelin  United States Anti-tank missile launcher 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.

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

Warrant officers

Officer cadets and military school cadets



  2. "Personnel Size 2014"
  3. "Armádní aktivní zálohy by se měly stát poloprofesionálním sborem". Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  4. "Defence Budget 2014"
  5. "NATO Defence Expenditure: 2009 - 2013" August 14, 2014
  9. 1 2 3 4 "Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Trade Register"
  15. "Military Balance in Europe 2011"., March 07, 2011.
  16. "Armed Forces » Professional Army". Ministry of Defence & Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  17. Burian, Michal; Rýc, Jiří (2007). Historie spojovacího vojska [History of [Czechoslovak] Signal Corps] (in Czech). Prague: Ministerstvo obrany – Agentura vojenských informací a služeb. p. 148. ISBN 978-80-7278-414-1.
  18. For more information on the Czechoslovak Army during the Cold War, see Gordon L. Rottman, Warsaw Pact Ground Forces, Osprey Publishing, 1987
  19. Library of Congress Country Study: Czechoslovakia, Ground Forces, 1987
  20., Warsaw Pact Order of Battle 1989, accessed 2 June 2010
  21. "Starting points for professionalization of the armed forces" (in Czech). 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  23. "New management and command structure of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic as of 1 July 2013". Ministerstvo obrany. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  24. - webové stránky praporu
  25. "Equipment Size 2016"
  26. "Vehicle and aircraft holdings within the scope of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty 2014" May 15, 2014
  28. "Celá historie naší armády je spojena se značkou Tatra" (in Czech). Army of the Czech Republic official website. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  29. 1 2
  31. "Tank Mil Mi-24 - NATO code: HIND". Army of the Czech Republic official website. Retrieved December 14, 2015.

See also


  1. Also referred to as the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic – see Armed Forces of the Czech Republic for more information.

Further reading

External links

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