The Czech Republic ready to turn to the American F-35A

In 2004, on the sidelines of its accession to the European Union and 5 years after its accession to NATO, the Czech authorities ordered 14 JAS-39 Gripen C/D fighters from Sweden, including two two-seaters, to replace its Mig- 23 and Mig-21 inherited from the Warsaw Pact era, in the form of a 12-year leasing for an annual amount of 1,7 billion belts, or €65 million. In 2015, Prague renewed the lease for a period of 12 years, which will end in 2027. On this date, several options are being considered by the Czech authorities. The extension of the lease of the JAS-39s was quickly ruled out, although the realization of the purchase option proposed by Stockholm is still considered. The country has also assessed the possibility of turning, like its Slovak neighbor, to the F-16V, but the Czech Air Force, like the authorities of the country, seems to consider that the American aircraft would not bring much more- value vis-à-vis the Gripen currently in service, especially since the F-16 is an “end of cycle” device from their point of view. The European offers of Gripen E/F and Typhoon were also considered, but it seems that it is the option of the American F-35A which wins the support of the staff as well as the Czech ministry.

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