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Czech Republic signs deal for 24 F-35 aircraft

The government of the Czech Republic has officially decided to acquire 24 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, as confirmed by the company.

The Czech Air Force will receive its first aircraft in 2031, via the US government’s Foreign Military Sale program. The aircraft will be in the latest advanced Block 4 configuration. The procurement agreement also covers personnel training, service and logistical support, and developing other support services to ensure successful deliveries of all 24 F-35s.

“We are pleased the government of the Czech Republic is now officially a part of the F-35 Lightning II program of record,” said US Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, program executive officer of the F-35 Joint Program Office.

“This partnership with the Czech Ministry of Defense will deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft for decades, while providing the Czech Air Force with unmatched interoperability and ensuring it has the capability to counter current and future threats.”

“With the signing of the Letter of Offer and Acceptance between the Czech Republic and US governments, the Czech Republic becomes the 18th nation to join the global F-35 program. We are honored to partner with the Czech Republic Air Force as its F-35s join other European nations in strengthening and growing interoperability, significantly increasing NATO’s deterrent capability,” added Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program.

“The F-35 is the best solution for the Czech Republic’s future fighter fleet with 5th Generation capabilities enhancing the nation’s effectiveness in the 21st Century Security battlespace.”

It is expected that by the 2030s, more than 600 F-35s will be operational in over 10 European countries, including two US F-35 squadrons stationed at the Royal Air Force Lakenheath.

F-35s are now operating from 32 bases worldwide and Lockheed Martin has delivered over 990 F-35s to date and trained more than 2,280 pilots and 15,400 maintainers. The F-35 fleet has surpassed almost 773,000 cumulative flight hours.

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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