Procurement: September 11, 2003


The commander of the Czech air force has resigned to protest budget cuts that prevent replacing aging Russian aircraft. Most Czech warplanes are elderly MiG-21s and there were plans to buy 24 Swedish Jas-39 ("Gripen") fighters. These F-16 class aircraft are expensive, at about $50 million each, but the deal was structured so a lot of the production (or related production) would take place in the Czech Republic. This made the deal more attractive than the American offer of used F-16s for less than half the price. But the production shifted to the Czech Republic was very attractive, as it meant more jobs at a time when unemployment was an issue. But the army was also pushing for an all volunteer force, and this was going to be expensive as well. There were no enemies threatening from the air, and ending conscription was very popular. So the Gripen got shot down more by the need to end conscription than anything else. 


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