Arms manufacturers in Poland and the Czech Republic are poised for an unprecedented boom, fueled by the ongoing war in Ukraine and a concomitant increase in demand for military goods. Polish and Czech companies are responding to the growing need with innovative recruitment and training programs.
Poland and the Czech Republic at the heart of the boom
Weapons, grenades and other military goods are being produced in the two countries at the fastest pace since the fall of the Berlin Wall. David Hac, CEO of the Czech STV Group, told Reuters that the company had an agreement with the city of Policka to build company-financed housing for new hires. Furthermore, retired employees would be fed in the canteen in order to pass on their knowledge about ammunition for the Ukraine.
Labor shortage as a challenge
Despite the boom, a labor shortage could slow production in Central Europe. Jiri Hynek, president of the Defense and Security Industries Association of the Czech Republic, told Reuters that Czech companies could increase their production by up to 20 percent if they had enough labor and materials. The Czech government is also beginning to employ some of the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees to support companies struggling to find workers.
Growing importance of Central Europe for Ukraine
Arms manufacturers in Poland and the Czech Republic are an important source of supply for the Ukrainian military. More than 20 percent of all Ukrainian arms imports came from the two countries. According to the Czech Ministry of Defense, demand from Ukraine for large-caliber ammunition for Soviet-era weapons and Western artillery and tank ammunition is particularly high. Czech independent defense analyst Lukas Visingr told Reuters that the shortage of skilled workers is currently the main problem hampering the expansion of production.