LATEST UPDATE 16 MAY 2014 | According to Swedish sources on 12 March 2014 the Czech government – as expected – okays the the deal for the SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen fighter jets. The deal was subsequently signed on 16 May 2014.
The Czech and the Swedish defence export authority FXM have agreed to the lease of the 14 Gripens till at least 2026, with an option for an additional two years. The new deal includes training and upgrading of the airplane, as well as logistical and operational support. The Czech Republic pays about US$ 72,5 million per year for the lease, so roughly just a little bit more than 5 million dollar per airplane. That’s very priceworthy!
The first deal between Prague and Stockholm was signed in 2004, when the Czech Republic became the first NATO member to fly the Swedish made multi-role fighter.
Sources within SAAB now have high hopes that Slovakia will sign a similar deal. The East European country is looking for new fighters and sources say Slovakian policy makers waited until the Czech moved forward with their Gripens. Between 1918 and 1992 the neighbours were united as Czechoslovakia and the bond between the two is still very strong.
As was clear during a recent visit by AIRheads↑FLY editors to Czech Airbase’s Gripen hometown Čáslav the signing of the deal was just a matter of time. As major Jaroslav Tomaňa (38), commander of 211. taktické letky (tactical squadron) flying the Gripen told us during an exclusive interview: “The Gripen was and still is the best choice for our country.”
Source: Försvarsexportmyndigheten (FXM) with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editors Marcel Burger and Elmer van Hest
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