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Czech Republic to modernize JAS-39 Gripen fighters

By Defence Industry Europe

The Czech government has announced plans for a significant upgrade to its JAS 39 Gripen C/D multirole fighter aircraft.

 

This initiative aims to bridge the operational gap until the introduction of next-generation aircraft into the Czech Air Force. The contract, exceeding the value of 1 billion CZK, will elevate the Czech Gripen aircraft from the Block 2.1 standard to Block 2.2.

 

 

The modernization contract is set to be signed in an intergovernmental agreement with Sweden, the formal owner of the aircraft. Since 2005, the Czech Republic has been leasing 14 Gripen jets from Sweden. Although not explicitly mentioned in the announcement, Saab, the manufacturer of the Gripen, is expected to play a key role in this latest upgrade. An addendum to the existing leasing agreement is anticipated to be signed in the first half of this year.

 

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The upgrade will focus on enhancing identification friend or foe (IFF) systems and communication systems. It will also expand the jets’ air-to-air refueling capabilities at any time of day and integrate additional armaments acquired by Prague for the F-35s.

This modernization effort is not just about keeping the aircraft fleet technologically relevant; it also aims to extend the operational life of the Gripen jets. The current leasing agreement is set to expire in 2027, but Prague plans to extend it until 2035. By then, the Czech Air Force expects to have 24 F-35A aircraft, ordered from the USA, in service.

 

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