Czech Republic to launch army helicopter tender in summer

PRAGUE, April 9 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic will issue a tender for 12 army helicopters in the summer, Defence Minister Karla Slechtova said on Monday.

Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron, and Italy’s Leonardo had submitted offers last year for the sale of the helicopters, but Slechtova scrapped the tender after taking office in December.

“We won’t go to a single company... We will address three bidders at least. We will complete the documentation and launch the tender in the summer,” Slechtova said on Twitter.

The U.S. Department of Defense issued a release last October estimating the cost of the deal for 12 Bell UH-1Y utility helicopters at $575 million. (Reporting by Robert Muller Editing by Hugh Lawson)