Czech Air Force buys 24 F-35 Lightning II strike fighters to replace the JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets currently used by the service

Czech Air Force buys 24 F-35 Lightning II strike fighters to replace the JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets currently used by the service

By Dario Leone
Jan 30 2024
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24 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft for Czech Air Force

The Czech Republic government signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) on Jan. 29, 2024 making official its intent to procure 24 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft. Through the US government Foreign Military Sale, the Czech Air Force will receive its first aircraft in 2031, which will be in the latest advanced Block 4 configuration.

The rest of the F-35s will be delivered by 2035. The American aircraft will replace the 14 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden that are currently used by the Czech Air Force.

“We are pleased the government of Czech Republic is now officially a part of the F-35 Lightning II program of record,” said US Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer, F-35 Joint Program Office, in a Lockheed Martin news release. “This partnership with the Czech Ministry of Defense will deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft for decades, while providing the Czech Air Force with unmatched interoperability and ensuring it has the capability to counter current and future threats.”

Czech Air Force personnel training

In addition to the aircraft, the procurement also includes personnel training, service and logistical support, and developing other support services ensuring successful deliveries of all 24 F-35s.

F-35A print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

“With the signing of the Letter of Offer and Acceptance between the Czech Republic and U.S. governments, the Czech Republic becomes the 18th nation to join the global F-35 program. We are honored to partner with the Czech Republic Air Force as its F-35s join other European nations in strengthening and growing interoperability, significantly increasing NATO’s deterrent capability.” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “The F-35 is the best solution for the Czech Republic’s future fighter fleet with 5th Generation capabilities enhancing the nation’s effectiveness in the 21st Century Security battlespace.”

The F-35 Lightning II

According to the NATO website, the commanders of the Czech Air Force and German Air Force discussed the planning of future operations and joint training related to the introduction of F-35 aircraft. Both Allies’ governments approved the purchase enabling fifth generation fighter integration in the air forces.

The F-35 is the European aircraft of choice for replacing legacy fighter fleets, offering unmatched interoperability with NATO and other nations to provide a key discriminator for the US and its allies for decades to come. By the 2030s, more than 600 F-35s will work together from more than 10 European countries, including two full US F-35 squadrons stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. It is also the only fighter aircraft in production today that will create jobs for the next 40-50 years and enable strategic industrial partnerships with Czech industry.

F-35s are now operating from 32 bases worldwide. To date, Lockheed Martin has delivered more than 990 F-35s, trained more than 2,280 pilots and 15,400 maintainers, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed nearly 773,000 cumulative flight hours. Lockheed Martin continues to work side by side with F-35 operators to ensure allies remain ahead of the evolving threat.

F-35
his model is available from AirModels! CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: Martin Král / Czech Armed Force Public Affairs Office via NATO website


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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