The Czech Republic Government has approved funding for the country’s lease of JAS 39 Gripen C/D multi-role combat aircraft from Sweden.

Czech Republic Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier was quoted by as saying that the government has authorised CZK21.4bn ($108.4m), including tax and VAT, for the lease of supersonic aircraft in a 2015 to 2027 timeframe.

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The government initially approved the country’s renewal of lease for 14 Gripen fighters from the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (FXM) until 2027, in March.

Confirmed after two-year negotiations between the FXM and the Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD), the new lease contract also covers training of Czech ground and flying personnel and aircraft modernisation, and all the necessary logistical and operational support required to use the aircraft.

The Czech Defence Ministry said that the contract will furnish data transmission systems in the Nato format, secret voice connection systems, night vision systems and unnecessary ammunition, reported CTK.

"The agreement, which made the Czech Republic the first Nato member to fly the Gripen, is scheduled to expire in 2015."

The Czech Air Force currently operates 14 Gripen, including 12 single-seat JAS 39C and two twin-seat JAS 39D fighters under a CZK19.6bn ($1bn) ten-year lease agreement signed in 2004, as reported earlier by IHS Janes.

The agreement, which made the Czech Republic the first Nato member to fly the Gripen, is scheduled to expire in 2015.

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.

Apart from Czech Republic, the single Volvo-Flygmotor RM12 engine powered-aircraft is also operational with Hungarian, Swedish, South African and Thai air forces.

Image: Two Czech Air Force Gripen fighters during a Baltic Air Policing mission in Lithuania. Photo: courtesy of Arz1969.

Defence Technology