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Czech Republic & US ink historic deal for 24 F-35 aircraft

Photo: Lockheed Martin

The Czech Republic and the United States signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of 24 F-35 aircraft, a historic milestone in Czech military history.

The Czech government, having approved the purchase of 24 F-35A Lightning II aircraft in September 2023, has now finalized a significant aspect of the contract. Worth 15.3 billion crowns (approx. 667 million USD), the agreement encompasses 11 projects with Lockheed Martin and 3 projects with Pratt & Whitney.

As per the official report, these initiatives involve the participation of 13 Czech companies and universities, spanning various areas such as component production, research and development, pilot training, maintenance, service, and repair of the F-35.

“I promised that the contract for American F-35 aircraft would be concluded by the end of March at the latest, and today I fulfilled this promise. With this intergovernmental agreement, our country and the army are entering a new era. To the era when not only soldiers but also modern technology, we rank in the first league of European NATO members,” said Czech Minister Jana Černochová after the signing. 

“The 5th generation machines are the backbone aircraft of the North Atlantic Alliance. In addition, their acquisition will increase the combat capability of the Czech army,” she added.

The procurement process for the F-35A Lightning II aircraft is set to span eleven years, with the initial deliveries expected in 2031. Simultaneously, the Comprehensive Implementation Plan is in progress, outlining the systematic introduction of the F-35 system into the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic (AČR).

This plan covers personnel planning, training, infrastructure construction, service and logistical support, as well as the development of additional support services. The goal is to ensure the smooth and problem-free gradual delivery of all 24 F-35 units from the outset.

Meanwhile, negotiations with Sweden are actively underway to manage the operation of the existing Swedish Gripens until 2035, coinciding with the full deployment of the F-35 system.