The Czech government announced that it had validated the future order for 24 F-35A Lightning 2 aircraft from the American Lockheed-Martin, in order to replace, from the end of the decade, the 12 JAS 39C Gripen, and 2 JAS 39D in two-seater version training equipment, leased from Sweden since 2005.
Good week for Lockheed-Martin. Indeed, after Bucharest's announcement regarding the upcoming acquisition of 48 F-35As in two batches in the coming years, it is now Prague's turn to do the same.
24 Lockheed-Martin F-35A for the Czech Republic
To this end, the Czech authorities have validated the next order for 24 F-34As to replace the 14 Gripen C/D leased from Sweden since 2005, as well as the 23 L-159 Anca light fighters from the local aircraft manufacturer. Aero Vodochody.
According to the information provided, the new devices should be delivered from 2029 (or 2031 depending on the sources), for a fully operational fleet. from 2035.
This upcoming order is accompanied by an industrial agreement which has not yet been detailed, but which will allow the Czech aeronautical industry to join the F-35 ecosystem.
Prague plans to devote a little less than (CZK 106 billion) $5 billion for the acquisition of the devices and all the equipment necessary to implement them from the American FMS, which had made a proposal at 5.6 billion $ for Czech request a few weeks ago.
In addition, the Czech Air Force Vzdušné síly will devote $1.9 billion (CZK 44 billion) to deploy and modernize the infrastructure necessary for the implementation of this new fighter fleet.
The major effort to modernize the Czech armies
This program represents 2.2% of the Czech Republic's GDP, or 1 1/2 years of the annual budget of the country's armies, with a defense effort reaching 1.52% of its GDP in 2023.
Remember that in April 2023, the Czech Parliament passed a law demanding that the country's defense effort be brought beyond the NATO threshold of 2% from 2024, in particular in order to finance current equipment modernization programs.
Indeed, Prague has undertaken several major programs in recent years, with the acquisition of 62 Titus armored vehicles and 52 CAESAR artillery systems from France, 200 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles from Sweden, as well as of 12 UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper helicopters from the American Bell.
The Prague arbitration in favor of the American fighter is in no way a surprise. Indeed, as early as June 2022, the Czech government announced its preference for the F-35A, considered more efficient and less expensive than the JAS 39 Gripen E offered by the Swedish Saab.
European disinterest in Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody
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