Is Czechia about to transfer its ‘Gripens’ to Ukraine?


Czechia will enter negotiations with the US about a potential sale of up to 24 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Czech government officials announced on July 20. Writes Drago Bosnic

In recent days, a number of Western mass media outlets reported that the US and NATO intend to supply the Kiev regime with modern Western fighter jets. The goal is to essentially reconstitute the air arm of the Kiev regime forces, which has suffered severe losses fighting the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS). In addition to the much more advanced Russian fighter jets, there are also highly sophisticated SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems which are effectively enforcing a no-fly zone over most of Ukraine. In order to challenge Russian air superiority, the political West believes it’s necessary to send Western jet fighters and equip the essentially erstwhile Kiev regime air force.

During an address at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on Wednesday, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Chief of Staff General Charles Brown said the Kiev regime will need to shift its air force away from legacy platforms such as Russian MiG and Sukhoi fighters and replace them with Western-made aircraft. With the supply of Russian spare parts for MiGs and Sukhois cut off, Brown said, Ukraine will have to eventually move to other fighters. It remains to be seen which types of fighter jets, he said, but there are many possibilities, not just US-made platforms such as the F-15 or F-16, but the Eurofighter, Swedish “Gripen” and French “Rafale” could also be considered.

“Part of this is understanding where Ukraine wants to go, and how we meet them where they are. All of our allies and partners have an interest in ensuring Ukraine can provide for its own security,” Brown said.

The Kiev regime has repeatedly urged its Western sponsors to supply fighters such as F-15 and F-16. Previously, the political West has been hesitant to do so, as there are too many hurdles preventing it. First and foremost, it takes time to train pilots and other staff to operate and sustain such aircraft. Then there’s the issue of safely transporting the jets to Ukraine. If they were to take off from NATO air bases in Europe, this would effectively make the host countries (and thus NATO itself) parties to the conflict, to which Russia would certainly respond.

“Although Ukraine is busy dealing with its right now problem, it will eventually have to figure out how its future force should look like. We’ll be open to discussions with them about what their requirements are and how we might be able to satisfy them,” Kendall said.

In March, Kendall himself denied reports the US could provide A-10 close air support (CAS) jets to the Kiev regime. But at Aspen, he didn’t entirely deny this possibility.

“There are a number of international opportunities that are possible there. Older US systems are a possibility,” he said.

When the Kiev regime acquires new fighters, the US will have a responsibility to help train their pilots on how to fly the different airframes, Brown said. In an interview with Reuters on the way to Aspen, he stated the US and NATO are considering options for training Kiev regime pilots. During his discussion at Aspen, Brown said his comments in the Reuters interview were meant to highlight steps the US and NATO are already taking to train the pilots. Kendall’s and Brown’s statements came a week after the US passed a law to provide $100 million to train the Kiev regime pilots to fly US aircraft.

While the US officials were talking about this possibility, Czechia announced it would be acquiring F-35 fighters to replace its Swedish-made “Gripen” jets. The country will enter negotiations with the US about a potential sale of up to 24 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, Czech government officials announced on July 20. The US-made F-35 came out on top while bidding against the F-16V Block 70/72 (both designed by Lockheed Martin) and Saab, which offered either older “Gripen” C/D models or the more advanced E/F variant.

“Our decision to select this option is based on the analysis by the Czech Armed Forces, which clearly articulates that only the most advanced fifth generation fighters will be able to meet mission requirements in future battlefields,” Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová said according to a news release.

The Czech Air Force leases 14 “Gripen” C/D jets under an agreement set to expire in 2027. During a news conference, Černochová said the Czech government “must act now to ensure there is not a gap between when its lease runs out and the fielding of new fighters, adding that supply chain shortages could draw out acquisition timelines.”

Czechia’s decision to buy the F-35 is the latest in a series of highly profitable contracts for the US Military-Industrial Complex, following Canada, Finland, Switzerland and Germany, all of which announced they will be acquiring the Lockheed Martin-made jet. Taking this into account and the statements given by US officials about supplying Western aircraft to the Kiev regime, it’s quite indicative of what might happen with Czech “Gripens”. In addition to equipping the Kiev regime air force, the US is also making huge profits with F-35 sales to countries which previously avoided buying the jet due to its troubled development and massive costs related to major problems it has.

Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst.


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