February, 27

    US State Dept. clears $5.6 billion sale of F-35s for Czech Republic

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    WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department approved a possible sale to the Czech Republic of F-35 aircraft, munitions and related equipment worth up to $5.62 billion, according to a June 29 announcement.

    The sale, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, would include 24 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

    The principal contractors will be Lockheed Martin, RTX and Boeing.

    “The proposed sale will improve the Czech Republic’s defense capabilities as well as support NATO operations by guarding against modern threats and maintaining a constant presence in the region,” the agency said in the statement. It added that the move “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

    In May, the U.S. signed a security agreement with the Czech Republic, a NATO member that has backed Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

    This potential sale comes a year after the Czech Republic announced it would like to procure 24 F-35s from the United States.

    “Our decision to select this option is based on the analysis by the Czech Armed Forces, which clearly articulates that only the most advanced 5th generation fighters will be able to meet mission requirements in future battlefields,” Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová said at the time, according to a release.

    A U.S. Government Accountability Office report from May found the F-35 program continues to experience schedule delays, cost increases and late deliveries. It recommended Congress consider directing the program manage engine modernization as a separate program.

    The potential sale to the Czech Republic would also include 25 Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines, 70 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles, and various other bombs, electronic warfare and radio capabilities, among other equipment.

    The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of this possible sale, the release said, adding that the actual dollar value could be lower “depending on final requirements, budget authority, and signed sales agreement(s), if and when concluded.”

    If the sale goes through, the Czech Republic will join nine Foreign Military Sales customers to the F-35 program.

    Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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