This announcement opens the possibility for the Czech Republic to sign the purchase contract. This also includes ammunition, various materials and support services. This decision to acquire the F-35 is part of a general desire to modernize Czech military capabilities while getting rid of Soviet equipment.
On July 20, 2022, the Czech government, via Defense Minister Jana Černochová, its decision to purchase 24 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets (Press release);
“(…) I was authorized to form an interdepartmental negotiation team and begin negotiations with the EUnited States to acquire 24 F-35 Lightning II multirole fighters to equip two squadrons.“
Eleven months after this decision, on June 29, 2023, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), in charge of granting or not granting the export of American equipment abroad, has just given its agreement for this purchase. Concretely, it is obviously not a contract but this step is important because it officially allows the parties concerned to be able to sign a future contract and conclude the purchase.
The agreement is not just about the 24 F-35 as it also includes;
- 25 (24 installed, 1 spare) Pratt & Whitney F-135-PW-100 engines,
- 70 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM long-range air-to-air missiles (180 km range),
- 50 AIM-9X Block II/II+ Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles (20 km range),
- 86 GBU-53/B StormBreaker hover and precision bombs (also known as Small Diameter Bomb II),
- 12 JDAM hover bombs, including 12 Mk 84 (also known as BLU-117) 907 kg smooth bombs and 12 GBU-31 JDAM kits,
- IFF systems (identification, friend or foe),
- electronic warfare systems,
- different lures (flares And chaff (glitter)),
- spare parts (not specified),
- logistical support, general or technical documentation, cryptographic equipment, etc.
- it is also necessary to add some specimens of the ammunition bought but in an inactive version, in order to be used for the training of the personnel on the ground.
The total amount is estimated by the DSCA at $5.62 billion. The DSCA also identifies three main US contractors: Lockheed Martin, RTX and Boeing. This future purchase for the Czechs is aligned with a desire to modernize the military capabilities of its forces: in addition to the F-35s, 10 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters have been ordered, as well as 10 UH-1Y transport helicopters. Venom. The next contract will probably be land because since May 2023, Minister Černochová had announced that discussions were underway for the purchase of 70 Leopard 2A8 battle tanks, the most advanced version of the German Leopard 2 battle tank and still in the development phase. development.