The Government will negotiate with the US on the purchase of F-35s. New Infantry Fighting Vehicles to be procured from Sweden

The Government will negotiate with the US on the purchase of F-35s. New Infantry Fighting Vehicles to be procured from Sweden
Author: Wikimedia Commons|Caption: F-35A Lightning II
21 / 07 / 2022, 12:00

After yesterday's cabinet meeting, a major shift in two key projects is now clearer. Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that negotiations will be held with the US on new F-35 fighter jets, ending the JAS-39 Gripen machines in the protection of Czech airspace. It was also announced that the Swedish company BAE Systems would be directly approached to supply new CV90 MkIV Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

The Government of Petr Fiala will enter into negotiations with the US on the future acquisition of F-35 fighter aircraft, and will also approach the Swedish company BAE Systems to negotiate the acquisition of a new Infantry Fighting Vehicles. These are the conclusions of yesteday's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced.

See also: The criticized tender for tracked IFV may be cancelled in a few weeks and the equipment acquired by intergovernmental agreement

"The Government decided today, on the recommendation of the Czech Army, that we will negotiate with the US Government on the purchase of F-35 aircraft. The Gripen lease ends in 2027 or 2029, and the 5th generation aircraft are the solution for the future. We have more than a year to negotiate and then the final decision on the actual purchase will be made. Furthermore, the government today approved the cancellation of the existing tender for new IFVs. Based on the result of the legal audit that I commissioned after I took office, and after two of the three bidders refused to agree to the new terms, it is not possible to proceed in any other way. At the same time, we have decided that we will continue to follow the Government-to-Government route," Černochová said on her Facebook profile.

According to the defence minister, the negotiations with the US partners are to run until October 2023. The defence minister expects to arm two squadrons of 12 planes each. This means that after many years, the new American F-35s will replace the Swedish Gripen aircraft, whose lease ends in 2027 and of which the Czech Republic has 14 at its disposal.

See also: Czech Republic to receive Leopard 2 tanks from Germany

Fiala also announced on Wednesday that the Swedish manufacturer BAE Systems will be directly approached as part of the rearmament of the 7th Mechanised Brigade with new Infantry Fighting Vehicles. The defence ministry cancelled the previous tender, which was attended by three potential suppliers. Cernochová said that the tender was cancelled on the basis of a recommendation from the legal office. The new Infantry Fighting Vehicles are to replace the obsolete BVP-1 and BVP-2.

Slovakia has also gone down this route, which will directly buy 152 tracked armoured vehicles, also from Sweden, for almost CZK 42 billion. As for the Czech Republic, this purchase is also crucial for Slovakia in the rearmament process of its own heavy brigade.

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