On Wednesday, the Czech government approved the purchase of 24 latest generation F-35 fighter jets worth 106 billion kroons ($5.62 billion).
This was announced by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, noting that this is a decision for decades, Novinky reports.
In the future, American fighters will replace Gripen aircraft, which the Czech Republic has leased until 2027.
The Czech army is to receive the first fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II in the most modern Block 4 version in 2029, and all of them by 2035. According to Fiala, the purchase will be financed from the budget of the Ministry of Defense.
"Comparing the capabilities of the aircraft and their service life with the price, there is no better solution for the tactical aviation tasks of the Czech Army for the coming decades. This tells our allies that we are serious about the defense of our country and that they can count on us," the Prime Minister said.
"The F-35 system means not only the purchase of aircraft. This is a fundamental technological leap for the development of the army, as well as for the Czech economy and the scientific and technological sphere because the F-35 also means access to the most advanced technologies on the planet," he added.
"Now is not the time for temporary solutions," said Defense Minister Jana Černohová regarding the purchase of the aircraft.
According to her, the life cycle of the machines is designed to last at least until 2069. The purchase will cost 106 billion kroons, and another 44 billion will be spent on preparing for their operation.
On average, this amount will be less than 7.3 percent of the planned annual defense spending.
The cost also includes equipment, such as air-to-air or air-to-ground missiles, crew training, and necessary training equipment or spare parts to ensure the life cycle.
Author - Olena Madiak, 27/09/2023