Sweden’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Fredrik Jörgensen, has suggested that the country may donate the 14 Saab Gripen C/D fighter jets currently operated by the air force on a lease basis since 2004.
“It is possible to transfer these currently leased aircraft to the Czech Republic at virtually zero cost. They’ve already been paid; it’s like a rental car,” Jörgensen told Seznam Zprávy.
“We would consider them paid and based on that we could extend the co-op system to include C-series Gripens or E-series Gripens,” he added.
The Czech Air Force has already stated that it will acquire an advanced aircraft to replace the Gripen C/D from 2027, but the favorite competitor is the Lockheed Martin F-35.
The Czech plan is to have two squadrons (24 aircraft) of the new fighter and the US stealth jet seems to have the upper hand, as shown by the numerous victories in recent competitions.
The government of the eastern European country is expected to make a decision in July.
No proposal knowledge
Despite the statement by the Swedish ambassador, who added that Saab could deliver the Gripens more quickly, Defense Minister Jana Ernochová denied having received any proposal.
“The Ministry of Defense does not have an offer from Sweden for the free transfer of the currently used Gripen fighter,” she replied during the NATO summit this week.
The Swedish proposal, if it does occur, could be advantageous not only for the donation of current fighters, but for the fact that the Czech air force would easily adapt to the new Gripen E/D, which shares many similarities with the previous generation.