Our Bureau
03:42 PM, January 8, 2014

The Czech government approved sale of 28 subsonic L-159 ALCA aircraft to the US, while postponing prolonged lease of Sweden-made SAAB 39 Gripen supersonic aircraft talks.

The American Draken International company is interested in purchase of up to 28 pieces (24 complete and four incomplete) for $21.72 million up to $25.8 million, while the final price could vary depending on real technical conditions of machines.

At present, the defence department has 36 pieces of L-159 which does not use and negotiates to sell them to other parties. Their storage costs reached 260 million Czech Crowns from 2006 to 2013 only.

Of all the 72 new L-159 aircraft, manufactured and delivered by AERO Vodochody, CZ, to the Czech military as of 2003, the Czech Air Force presently operates 24 pieces from its airbase at Caslav. The rest is either stored by the manufacturer or was used for other purposes. Two pieces were lost in air crashes.

During the governmental session, Minister of Defence Vlastimil Picek also presented an amendment on prolongation of a lease agreement with Swedish party for 14 pieces of SAAB 39 Gripen supersonic aircraft to come in force after 2015.

The government has suspended discussion over the amendment’s approval leaving this strategic decision to a new Czech government which is due to be formed soon.

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