Czechs sign lease deal for Saab's Gripen fighters

The Czech Republic signs lease arrangement for Saab jet fighters.
By Richard Tomkins   |   May 16, 2014 at 4:55 PM

LINKOPING, Sweden, May 16 (UPI) -- The Czech Republic is to continue leasing Saab Gripen fighter aircraft for a dozen years under a government-to-government agreement signed Friday, Saab said.

The air force of the Czech Republic flies 14 Gripen C/D jets under a 2006 lease from Sweden, which expires next year.

"With this agreement, the Czech Republic is taking a long-term strategic decision to continue operating Gripen and ensuring the continued development of its national capability," said Lennart Sindahl, senior executive vice president and head of Saab's Aeronautics business area. "This is further proof of the confidence in Gripen, and its defense capacity."

The Gripen is a single-engine, multi-role fighter first introduced in the late 1990s. It has a maximum speed of 1,372 miles per hour at high altitude and a combat radius of 497 miles. It's flown by three other countries in addition to Sweden and the Czech Republic and was selected last year for procurement by Brazil.

Details of the leasing agreement were not immediately available.

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