MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) – The Czech military will include drones in its new generation of weapons as unmanned aircraft are effective in fighting against Islamic State (IS) militants, according to the President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman.
"It seems the new weapon generation will definitely include unmanned aerial vehicles. Tanks can hardly be used to fight the terrorists of the Islamic State," Zeman said as quoted by The Prague Post Sunday.
Speaking during his visit to the NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days event at the Ostrava airport, Zeman noted that it is good that the Czech military has supersonic fighters.
"A certain mistake, which is well known to all of you, was that we merrily acquired 72 subsonic combat planes L-159 before. Then we found no use for them, and we wasted dozens of billions of crowns in this regard," Zeman said, adding "I'm glad that we have the [supersonic] Gripens. As far as the L-159s are concerned, let's hope we will sell them somewhere."
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni jihadist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories under its control later that month.
US President Barack Obama has announced the formation of an international coalition to fight the radical organization and authorizing US airstrikes against IS positions in Syria, while simultaneously continuing airstrikes in Iraq, which the United States authorized in August.
The United States also plans to provide support, equipment and training to Kurdish and Iraqi forces and Syria's opposition to respond to the IS threat.
The Czech Republic said it would help train Kurdish forces and would provide them with ammunition and military equipment.
On Saturday, Petr Pavel, the chief of the Czech Army's General Staff, was appointed Chairman of NATO's Military Committee.
The Military Committee is NATO's senior military authority. It is the primary source of military counsel to NATO's civilian decision-making bodies – the North Atlantic Council and the Nuclear Planning Group. The committee is made up of senior military officials from NATO member states.