Czech Republic to sign new Gripen lease agreement next month
The Czech Republic Government has approved an agreement for the country's lease of 14 JAS 39 Gripen C/D multi-role combat aircraft.
Scheduled to be signed by the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (FXM) and the Czech Defence Ministry nexth month, following internal processes, the agreement will enable the country to continue to fly Gripen, at least until 2026.
FXM director general Ulf Hammarstrom said the agreement has been a long, tough process and often involved very intensive negotiations.
"It is an agreement that is to the advantage of both parties and helps promote cost-efficiency for the Air Forces of both Sweden and the Czech Republic," Hammarstrom said.
In addition to the lease of 14 Gripen C/D fighters for a period of 12 years, the agreement also covers training and upgrade of the aircraft, and the necessary logistical and operational support needed to deploy the aircraft.
FMV signed the first CZK19.6bn ($1bn) ten-year agreement with the Czech Republic on 14 JAS 39 Gripen C/D aircraft in 2004, making the country the first Nato member to fly the Gripen.
Powered by a single Volvo-Flygmotor RM12 engine, the JAS 39 Gripen is a lightweight, multirole fighter aircraft designed to conduct a wide range of air-to-air, air-to-surface and reconnaissance missions.
The aircraft first entered into operational service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997, and is also in use with the South African and Hungarian air forces.
Image: A pair of Czech Air Force's JAS 39 Gripen C/D multi-role combat in flight. Photo: courtesy of Milan Nykodym.