Warplanes: January 11, 2002


The Czech Air Force has announced plans to buy 24 Swedish JAS39 Gryphon multi-role fighters for $1.3 billion. This marks the second success for the Gryphon; Hungary agreed to lease 14 of the planes only a few weeks earlier. The Czech Parliament has to approve the deal, and will meet to do so in late January. The first deliveries would be in 2004, with one squadron of 12 operational in 2005 and the other in 2008. The Czechs will retire their MiG-21s in 2005 and their Su-22s in 2008. The accounting for the deal verges on the bizarre. The British (who own Saab) and Swedes agreed to buy Czech products equal to 150 percent of the project, and the Czech government is insisting that British Aerospace buy 13 percent of the stock in Aero Vodochody and assemble the aircraft in the Czech Republic.--Stephen V Cole


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