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Czech Defence Ministry to Extend JAS Gripen Lease

 

The Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency has announced the Czech Republis has decided to extend the lease of 14 JAS Gripens for another 14 years.

According to Czech Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek the Czech Republic has tentatively negotiated an extension to the lease and the ministry would prepare an amendment to the existing contract by December before the final decision would be made by a new cabinet after the election on Oct. 25-26.

Picek said negotiators had agreed a discount of 32 percent for the lease of the 14 aircraft on a 10-year contract from 2004 which was valued at US$1.01 billion.

The Czechs Republic has been facing a shrinking military budget and in July the ministry announced it would look for a new supplier of fighters if a deal with Sweden could not be reached.

The Czech Republic has slashed its military spending to around a half of NATO’s recommended 2 percent of GDP. In the political debate on whether to extend the lease, some had proposed giving up supersonic military aircraft altogether.

The aircraft will also receive equipment upgrades which includes air-to-air as well as air-to-ground combat capabilities.

(Reuters)

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