The Czech Ministry of Defense has given the green light to acquire 24 F-35A fighter jets for the nation's air force.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that the initial supersonic stealth fighter would be delivered by 2031, with all 24 planes available to the military by 2035.
“The first F-35s will be ready in 2029 and our pilots will start training with them in the United States then,” Fiala said.
The Czech government has allocated $6.47 billion (CZK 150 billion) for aircraft procurement and related infrastructure development by 2034. This funding covers the acquisition of 24 F-35A fighter jets and 25 Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines, along with 70 AIM-120C-8 air-to-air missiles, 50 AIM-9X Block II/II missiles, and 18 inert training missiles.
In June 2023, the U.S. State Department gave the go-ahead to Czech Republic to buy 24 F-35As for $5.62 billion.
Currently, the Czech Air Force operates 14 leased Gripen fighter aircraft from Sweden, with the lease agreement running until 2027. Defense Minister Jana Cernochova stated that the budget includes aircraft costs, pilot training, Caslav air force base upgrades, and fuel expenses.
This investment aligns with the Czech government's commitment to allocate two percent of its GDP to defense, as required by NATO. Additionally, the Czech military has replaced aging Russian-made Mi-24 helicopters with U.S.-made Viper combat helicopters and Venom multi-purpose helicopters, some of which have been sent to Ukraine.