October 31, 2017 / 2:45 PM / a year ago

REFILE-U.S., Italy bid to sell Czech army 12 helicopters

(Refiles to give proper name of Italy’s Leonardo in paragraph 2)

PRAGUE, Oct 31 (Reuters) - The United States and Italy have offered to sell the Czech army 12 helicopters, the Czech Defence Ministry said on Tuesday, a deal worth an estimated $575 million that is on hold until a new government takes office.

Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron, and Italy’s Leonardo had been asked by the European Union and NATO member the Czech Republic to submit offers.

The ministry said the deal was on schedule but a final decision would be made by a new government. It provided no other details.

The Czechs held a parliamentary election this month and the ANO party, part of the outgoing centre-left government, was the runaway winner but is struggling to find new ruling partners. A new government could be months from taking power.

The U.S. Department of Defense agency this month issued a release estimating the cost of deal for 12 Bell UH-1Y utility helicopters at $575 million.

Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Edmund Blair

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