PRAGUE – The Czech defence minister says the government has approved a plan to extend the contract to lease 14 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden by at least 12 years.
Martin Stropnicky said on Wednesday the Czechs will pay 1.7 billion koruna ($86 million) a year and the government has an option to extend the contract by another two years.
The lease of the planes for the Czech air force began in 2005 and is due to expire in 2015.
The Czech government originally agreed to buy 24 military jets made by Sweden’s Saab and Britain’s BAE Systems in 2002, but cancelled that after devastating floods left the country with a staggering cleanup bill. It later decided to lease 14 of the same jets in a $1 billion deal.