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Israel and Czech Republic sign $125 mn missile defence deal

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Jerusalem (AFP)

Israel's defence ministry signed a deal with its Czech counterpart on Thursday to sell it radar systems used in the Jewish state's Iron Dome missile defence system.

The radars will be integrated into the Czech air defence system which will use Prague's own rocket launchers, a ministry spokesperson said.

The radars, used for air surveillance and defence, "will be interoperable with Czech and NATO command and control systems", a ministry statement said.

It said the deal, signed in Prague, was worth some $125 million. Delivery is set for 2021-2023.

Czech defence minister Lubomir Metnar said the acquisition was one of the country's "key modernisation projects" for its armed forces.

He said the deal would help start "the process of ending our dependence on obsolete Russian machinery and at the same time acquire modern and battle-tested systems from a long-term strategic partner".

The Iron Dome system was developed by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, with American funding.

It is designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells fired from a range of four to 70 kilometres (three to 45 miles).

The Israeli air force has operated it since 2011, thwarting hundreds of rocket attacks from Gaza and Syria.

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