The Swedish ambassador to Czech Republic Fredrik Jörgensen said in an interview with Seznam Správy that Czech can keep the Gripens that it leased from Sweden for free.
The news comes as Czech is looking into buying 24 fighters as the lease for the Gripens will expire in 2027.
The information was confirmed by Lockheed Martin at the Berlin ILA Airshow on June 22, 2022.
The Czech Ministry of Defense in fact said he is considering the replacement of the 14 JAS-39 Gripen C/D fighters currently on lease from Saab until 2027 by acquiring at least 24 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II stealth fighters.
Following a study carried out to assess the needs of its combat aviation, the Czech Air Force “has already passed on to the ministry its idea of which aircraft should protect the Czech airspace in the coming years,” the local daily Echo24 reported on Jun. 20, 2022.
“Discussions are underway with two countries interested in purchasing the F-35,” JR McDonald, VP F-35 strategy and business development, told reporters during a briefing at the air show. The other country to have entered discussions is likely Greece, with a potential purchase of 20 F-35As. “As far as I know, the Czech Republic is closer to making a decision.”
The Czech Ministry of Defense is interested in acquiring a total of 24 new fighters, which would mean an additional tactical squadron compared to the current fighter fleet of the Czech Air Force.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force