Saab has been awarded a contract to extend the lease of JAS 39 Gripen C/D multi-role combat aircraft in the Czech Republic.
Awarded by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the SEK576m ($76.4m) contract covers the provision of continuing support and upgrade of the Czech Gripens for an additional 12 years.
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.
Saab business area Aeronautics deputy chief executive officer and head Lennart Sindahl said: "The Czech Republic’s decision is further evidence of Gripen’s high capability and great cost-efficiency.
"It proves again how well the aircraft stands up in global competition. As we develop the next generation of Gripen for Sweden and Brazil, we continue to see great international interest in Gripen C/D."
Saab Central and Eastern Europe head Tobias Wennberg said: "Our relations with the Czech Air Force are excellent and the feedback from Czech Gripen pilots has always been exceptional. We are looking forward to our continuing fruitful cooperation. "
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In May, the Czech Government signed an agreement with FMV to help the air force continue to fly Gripen until at least 2027.
Under the terms of the government-to-government agreement, Saab will serve as a supplier to FMV, which in turn will provide the aircraft to the Czech Republic.
The agreement also covers hardware modification of the aircraft and upgrade of system functionality, as well as several years of support for the Czech aircraft.
Saab will immediately develop and adapt new mission software for Czech requirements, while aircraft modifications are expected to be implemented in about one year.
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 the 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 JAS-39 Gripen aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Milan Nykodym.