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Czech Republic commits to F-35 jets despite Saab's 'free' Gripen lease offer

2nd October 2023 - 13:30 GMT | by Norbert Neumann in London


Looking at the Czech F-35 delivery timescale, extending the Gripen lease may still be needed to avoid a two-year capability gap. (Photo: USAF/US DoD)

Despite Saab's attractive Gripen lease extension offer, the decision to buy the F-35 underscores the Czech Republic's commitment to the latest technology and strengthens ties with NATO allies.

The Czech government has approved a plan to buy 24 F-35 fighter jets, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said last week, announcing a deal valued at approximately $6.5 billion. This marks the largest defence contract ever signed by the Czech Republic.

Fiala said the first Lockheed Martin jets would arrive by 2031 and deliveries would be completed by 2035.

‘The first F-35s will be ready in 2029 and our pilots will start training with them in the United States then,’ Fiala said. He added that the fighters ‘will solve the future of our tactical air forces for dozens of years to come'.

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Norbert Neumann


Norbert Neumann

Norbert is the Aviation, Military Training & Simulation reporter at Shephard Media. Before joining Shephard in …

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