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Czech Republic joins the European F-35 train

Photo: Lockheed Martin

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that the government has given its approval to acquire 24 F-35 fighter jets.

During his announcement on on September 27, Prime Minister Petr Fiala revealed that the Czech government had granted its go-ahead for the procurement of 24 F-35 fighter jets. Fiala further detailed the timeline, indicating that the initial aircraft is expected to be operational as early as 2029, with the full fleet anticipated to be ready by 2035.

“It is an effective solution,” Prime Minister Fiala said. “F-35 is a system that has a longer perspective than other types of aircraft.”

According to Defence Minister Jana Cernochova, the Czech Republic is committed to allocating 150 billion crowns ($6.47 billion) by 2034 for the F-35 fighter jet program. This budget encompasses various expenditures, including 44 billion for domestic base enhancements, as well as funding for fuel, personnel training, and taxes.

The move comes following the US State Department’s approval in June for the sale of F-35 aircraft, munitions, and associated equipment to the Czech Republic, marking a transition from the currently leased Gripen fighters from Sweden’s Saab AB.

In a notable development for regional defense, several Eastern European neighbors have jointly committed to bolster their military capabilities with the acquisition of over 200 F-35 fighter jets from the United States.

Czechia recently announced plans to purchase 24 F-35s, while Romania revealed its intention to acquire 48 just yesterday. Poland had earlier procured 32, and Finland, in February, secured a deal for 64 F-35s, strengthening the growing regional fleet. Notably, Norway, sharing a land border with Russia, is also in the process of acquiring 52 F-35s.