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The Czech Republic has decided to upgrade Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighters to the level of F-35 weapons

The Czech government has made a strategic decision to modernize the JAS 39 Gripen C/D fighters in service with the country's Air Force to ensure the combat capability of its air fleet until it receives new F-35 aircraft. This decision reflects the Czech Republic’s desire to maintain a high level of national security and defense capability in the light of modern military-political challenges. The cost of the modernization is estimated at more than one billion Czech crowns (approximately US$43,5 million).

As part of this project, the Czech Republic plans to raise the operating standards of its Gripen fleet from Block 2.1 to Block 2.2. This will allow for the integration of new friend-or-foe identification systems into the aircraft, expanded in-flight refueling capabilities for operations at any time of the day, and the addition of new weapons that will also be used on the F-35. The modernization contract is planned to be concluded at the intergovernmental level with Sweden, the formal owner of the aircraft.

The Czech Air Force has leased 14 Gripen fighters since 2005, paying about $75 million annually. It is expected that the modernization work will be carried out by the Swedish company Saab, the manufacturer of these fighters. The signing of an annex to the current leasing agreement, which will allow for modernization, is planned for the first half of this year.

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