A commitment to NATO
In July 2022, the Czech Republic made a bold statement of its desire to strengthen its position within NATO by purchasing 24 F-35A fighter-bombers from Lockheed-Martin, a leading American company. This strategic move, of crucial importance, aims to replace the 14 JAS-39 Gripen C/Ds currently operated by the Czech Air Force. Although the lease contract for these planes expires in 2027, a clause allowing it to be extended by two years exists. The Czech Republic is committed to becoming a strong pillar of NATO by investing in these new cutting-edge aircraft.
Negotiations with Lockheed-Martin proceeded at a surprising pace. Last June, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the American agency responsible for exports of military equipment, gave the green light to the potential sale of the F-35A, valued at $5.62 billion (i.e. 122 billion Czech crowns). This considerable sum included not only the delivery of the planes, but also ammunition, spare parts and the training of Czech personnel.
A colossal investment of 6.1 billion euros
On September 27, just three months later, the Czech government confirmed the order for 24 F-35As for 106 billion crowns (or 4.3 billion euros). Despite the scale of this expenditure, it is concrete proof of the Czech Republic’s commitment to NATO and its desire to play a major role in regional security. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala made it clear: “With this order, we show our allies that we take the defense of our country seriously and that they can count on us.”
However, the investment is not limited to the purchase of aircraft. An additional 1.8 billion euros (44 billion Czech crowns) will be needed to put the 24 F-35As into service. These funds will finance the construction of infrastructure essential to the use of these aircraft, as well as their operating costs until 2034. Industrial compensation with a total value of 630 million euros is also planned. The Czech Republic is ready to pay the price to strengthen its position within NATO and guarantee the security of the region.
Keywords: Czech Republic, NATO, fighter jets, F-35A, Lockheed-Martin, air forces, negotiations, investment, regional security, Petr Fiala, defense, infrastructure, industrial compensation.