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Defence

Czech Republic signs for 24 F-35s

The Czech Republic government has signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), officially marking its intent to procure 24 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

Image courtesy Lockheed Martin

Through the US government Foreign Military Sale, the Czech Air Force will receive its first aircraft in 2031, which will be in the latest advanced Block 4 configuration.

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

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"This partnership with the Czech Ministry of Defence 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."

In addition to the aircraft, the procurement also includes personnel training, service and logistical support and developing other support services ensuring successful deliveries of all 24 F-35s.

"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 programme. We are honoured 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." said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of the F-35 programme. "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."

By the 2030s, more than 600 F-35s will work together from more than 10 European countries, including two full US F-35 squadrons stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. It is also the only fighter aircraft in production today that will create jobs for the next 40-50 years and enable strategic industrial partnerships with Czech industry.

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

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