PRAGUE/WARSAW, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Eastern Europe's arms industry is churning out guns, artillery shells and other military supplies at a pace not seen since the Cold War as governments in the region lead efforts to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
But nearly a dozen government and company officials and analysts who spoke to Reuters said the conflict also presented new opportunities for the region's arms industry.
Other manufacturers too are increasing production capacity and racing to hire workers, companies and government officials from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic said.
The company, which he said has also delivered artillery and mortar systems, howitzers, bulletproof vests, small arms and ammunition to Ukraine, is likely to surpass a pre-war 2022 revenue target of 6.74 billion zlotys.
Eastern Europe's arms industry dates back to the 19th Century, when Czech Emil Skoda began manufacturing weapons for the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
"The Czech Republic was one of the powerhouses of weapons exporters and we have the personnel, material base and production lines needed to increase capacity," its NATO Ambassador Jakub Landovsky told Reuters.
They said Ukraine had acquired weapons and equipment via donations from governments and direct commercial contracts between Kyiv and the manufacturers.
Ukraine has received nearly 50 billion crowns ($2.1 billion) of weapons and equipment from Czech companies, about 95% of which were commercial deliveries, Czech Deputy Defence Minister Tomas Kopecny told Reuters.
Czech arms exports this year will be the highest since 1989, he said, with many companies in the sector adding jobs and capacity.
"For the Czech defence industry, the conflict in Ukraine, and the assistance it provides is clearly a boost that we have not seen in the last 30 years," Kopecny said.
David Hac, chief executive of Czech STV Group, outlined to Reuters plans to add new production lines for small-calibre ammunition and said it is considering expanding its large-calibre capability.