Czechs to sign deal to buy 12 US military by year's end

The Czech defense minister says the government is planning to sign a deal with the U.S. government by year's end to purchase 12 military helicopters.

Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar says the deal is worth the worth 14.6 billion Czech crowns ($631 million) and the helicopters are to be delivered in 2023 to replace the obsolete Soviet-made Mi-24s.

The Czechs will get eight UH-1Y Venom choppers and four AH-1Z Vipers from U.S. maker Bell Hellicopter.

Metnar said Tuesday the contract includes equipment, ammunition, spare parts and training of the personnel.

He said the deal best covers the need of the Czech air forces.