WARSAW — Czech Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek has announced plans to extend the country’s lease of Swedish Saab JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters, local news agency CTK reported. The current deal will expire at the end of 2014.
Picek said he aims to submit the proposal for the contract extension after the cabinet of Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok is given a vote of confidence by the Czech parliament. The minister also said the new contract would be more advantageous for the Czech Republic.
Rusnok, who was sworn in by President Milos Zeman July 10 following the resignation of Petr Necas, has 30 days to request a vote of confidence.
Under the current deal, from 2004 to 2014, the Czech Republic will pay about 19.6 billion crowns (US $984 million) for the lease of 14 jet fighters. The leasing agreement was signed by the Czech and Swedish governments in June 2004.
Local media have reported that the analyzed scenarios included extending the contract by between three and 11 years for between 5 billion and 14.5 billion crowns.