Prague/Kopřivnice - The new cargo vehicles made by the Czech car-maker Tatra which were ordered by the Czech military with the aim of renewing its quickly aging car park have run into trouble during the control tests. They are too heavy.
"They are above the limit by couple of hundred kilos," a source privy to the details of this 2.6 billion Czech Crown contract told Aktuálně.cz.
Weight of the vehicle was among the basic requirements army has set for the new generation of its cargo trucks.
The Ministry: We know about it
The Defense Ministry confirmed the problems appeared during the control tests which had been done to check the required parameters.
"At this moment we do not have any additional information," said Jan Pejšek from the ministry's press department. The deputy minister Jaroslav Kopřiva who is responsible for equipment and armament of the Czech armed forces was abroad on a business trip, he further explained.
Tatra Kopřivnice owned up to the existence of problems with the new vehicle's weight, but claimed everything was alright now.
"It has been solved. The vehicle's weight has been lowered," said Dušan Benža from Bison & Rose agency, which manages public relations for the car-maker.
Deputy Minister Jaroslav Kopřiva is expected to attend the upcoming meeting of the parliamentary defense committee on Wednesday after he returns from abroad. He will give more details there.
"I do not know anything about these problems with the new Tatras, but I am sure our committee will learn all there is to know," the chairman of the parliamentary body Jan Vidím told Aktuálně.cz.
It was under the Defense Minister Karel Kühnl that army decided to order 556 new cargo vehicles from Tatra for the total sum of 2,6 billion Czech Crowns without calling for tender.
The contract was then signed by Jiří Šedivý, who succeeded Kühnl at the ministry. One of the chief arguments used to explain giving the order directly to Tatra was the alleged need to support Czech industry.
"It is a success not only for the army, but for the Czech industry as well," minister Šedivý was saying as he was signing the contract in December 2006.
The first batch of the new trucks which are to substitute the antiquated though still popular Praga V3S (known affectionately as "vejtřaska" which means a bone-shaker in Czech while also sounding close to the acronym) is expected to come into service by the end of the year, according to the original timetable.