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Czech Republic upgrading leased Gripen fighters

By Richard Tomkins
Czech Republic upgrading leased Gripen fighters
Gripen fighters flown by the Czech Air Force are to receive a ground-attack capability upgrade. Photo by Milan Nykodym/Flickr

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Gripen fighters flown by the Czech Republic are to receive ground-attack capability upgrades through Sweden's Defense and Security Export Agency, or FMX.

The 14 multi-role JAS 39 aircraft by Saab are leased from Sweden until 2027 under a 2014 contract renewal with the agency.

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"This [upgrade] is very beneficial for the Czech Air Force," said FXM Project Manager Marcus Hallberg. "With this upgrade the Czech Republic enhances its capabilities significantly and takes advantage of Gripen's capabilities to an even greater extent."

The upgrades, worth about $14.2 million, will entail integration of guided and unguided bombs through new weapon pylons and software, the Swedish agency said.

The Czech Republic first signed a lease for Gripen C/D fighters in 2004.

Information on the upgrade time frame was not disclosed.

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