The Global Hawks, manufactured by Northrop Grumman, will reportedly have their surveillance systems switched off during the overflight. The United States has used the Global Hawks to monitor Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
"We are part of NATO. The bloc's drones are protecting our territory among other things," Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický said, commenting on the issue. Lt. Colonel Ivan Kratochvil, who heads the "Retired Czech Soldiers Against War" movement, told Sputnik that Stropnický "often does not understand what he is talking about."
Kratochvil described drone overflights as "an exceptional matter" since they could affect security of civil transport. "The key issue with regard to drone overflights is that they could violate the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)," he said.
"The deal that allows drones – regardless of who owns them – to use Czech airspace puts at risk thousands of people whom various airline companies transport over the Czech territory. This risk is not justified," he lamented. "It shows that the Czech government is absolutely incapable of ensuring security of its citizens."
Kratochvíl said that there could be only one reason for this deal: "to ensure that there is an opportunity to carry out combat operation" on the Czech territory.
Earlier this year, NATO was reported to have purchased five new Global Hawks under a $1.7 billion deal with Northrop Grumman. Fifteen nations, including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States, are said to be taking part in the project.
The Global Hawk is a high-altitude platform offering intelligence capabilities to support forces in military operations.