Government approves Gripen fighters lease extension

The Czech government on Wednesday approved an extension of the lease of Swedish Gripen fighters for the Czech Air Force, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said. The lease for 14 Jas-39 Gripen aircraft was extended until 2027 with a two-year option; the Czech Republic will pay around 16.5 billion crowns for the deal. Under the new lease, the fighter jets will receive enhanced ground attack capabilities; Sweden will also train 25 Czech pilots and 90 ground personnel during in the course of the contract. The Czech Republic first leased Gripen fighter jets in 2005 amidst allegations of bribery and corruption.