The Czech Ministry of Defense is considering the replacement of the 14 JAS-39 Gripen C/D fighters currently on lease from the Swedish manufacturer Saab until 2027 by acquiring at least 24 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters.
Following a study carried out to assess the needs of its combat aviation, the Czech Air Force “has already passed on to the ministry its idea of which aircraft should protect the Czech airspace in the coming years,” said the local daily Echo24 on June 20, 2022.
The F-35A is considered a favorite among the candidates, according to information obtained by the publication. The other candidates being considered were the newer Gripen E/F, the Eurofighter Typhoon, and the Lockheed Martin F-16V.
The information was confirmed by Lockheed Martin at the Berlin ILA Airshow on June 22, 2022.
“Discussions are underway with two countries interested in purchasing the F-35,” JR McDonald, VP F-35 strategy and business development, told reporters during a briefing at the air show. The other country to have entered discussions is likely Greece, with a potential purchase of 20 F-35As. “As far as I know, the Czech Republic is closer to making a decision.”
The Czech Ministry of Defense is interested in acquiring a total of 24 new fighters, which would mean an additional tactical squadron compared to the current fighter fleet of the Czech Air Force.