Czech Republic’s Airspace Protection with Multi-Role Supersonic Aircraft
(Source: Czech Ministry of Defence; issued June 14, web-posted June 18, 2004)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the most detailed review available of the process which led the Czech Republic to sign on June 14 a lease agreement for Swedish-supplied Gripen fighters.)

**In 1993, MiG-29 supersonic fighter aircraft were decommissioned from the inventory of the Czech Armed Forces.

**In 1995, the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic Parliament resolved that modernizing the MiG-21 aircraft would be ineffective.

**In 1997, the Government decided in favour of supersonic aircraft acquisition and endorsed a plan to procure 72 L-159 subsonic aircraft.

**In 1999, Concept on the Development of the MoD Department, including procurement of supersonic aircraft, was approved by the Government. In the same year, MiG-23 and Su-25 aircraft were decommissioned from the inventory of the Czech Armed Forces.

**In 2000, public bidding process began in order to select supersonic aircraft supplier.

**In 2001, a report on bids evaluation was submitted. The government decided to initiate contractual negotiation with BAE/SAAB. Furthermore, the Su-22 aircraft were decommissioned and the L-159 aircraft introduced in this year.

**In May 2002, draft agreement on the procurement of 24 Gripen tactical supersonic aircraft was submitted. The draft agreement was approved by the Government. With that, the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic rejected the draft bill on the aircraft’s procurement financing.

**On July 9, 2003, the Government of the Czech Republic, by decree No. 686, endorsed the draft provision for completing the Concept on the Development of the Air Force of the Czech Armed Forces in the area of airspace protection by means of a supersonic aircraft, and, commissioned the Minister of Defence, inter alia, to:
--send a request for submitting Feasibility Study to the Governments of the Kingdom of Belgium, French Republic, Canada, the Kingdom of Netherlands, Republic of Turkey, United States of America, Federal Republic of Germany and the Kingdom of Sweden;
--assess the Feasibility Studies received, including that of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, develop a proposal on further procedure and submit these to the government for decision.

**On July 25, 2003, multilateral working session was held where the tender specifications and further requirements by the MoD were conveyed to the bidders.

**September 11, 2003, expert workshop attended by representatives from the countries addressed was held AFB Caslav to specify the terms of the procurement process.
The workshop was not attended by UK representatives. The British party, having analysed the requirements that were submitted to all addressed countries on July 25, 2003, decided not to continue in the process of searching an interim solution to securing the Czech Republic’s airspace.
The aim of the Caslav meeting was to specify technical, financial and time aspects concerning the bids processing.
The workshop participants were apprised of the operational conditions and parameters of the airbase where the aircraft are planned to be operated in future.

**On October 20, 2003, the Government, by decree No. 1051, determined the aircraft procurement is a strategic order.

**On October 31, 2003, the three-month period for development of feasibility studies was terminated and the bidders’ proposals were submitted:
--7 countries presented their bids – Belgium, France, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Sweden and the USA.
--Turkey withdrew on 15 Oct 2003.
--By the decree No. 1050, dated 20 October 2003, Bids Review and Evaluation Commission was appointed. This nine-member joint commission was included representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Finance.

**On November 30, 2003, the interdepartmental commission completed the Feasibility Studies’ assessment and, based on the set criteria, established bids’ order which was then presented to all government members by the Minister of Defence. The Commission recommended the bid submitted by the Kingdom of Sweden on the JAS-39 Gripen complex system as the most favourable. The bid on F-16 MLU aircraft by the Kingdom of Belgium placed second, bids submitted by Canada, Netherlands and the USA followed.

**On December 17, 2003, the Government of the Czech Republic decided the Swedish bid is the best one for the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. Minister of Defence Miroslav Kostelka, Minister of Finance Bohuslav Sobotka, Minister of Industry and Trade Milan Urban and Minister of Foreign Affairs Cyril Svoboda were commissioned to negotiate  procurement of fourteen aircraft exclusively with the Kingdom of Sweden.

**In December 2003, the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic, along with the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Industry and Trade, initiated negotiations on the Swedish bid.

**On May 28, 2004, documentation on the prepared supersonic aircraft lease was presented to the Government.

**On June 2, 2004, the Government held deliberations on draft Memorandum of Understanding, Lease Agreement and Industrial Co-operation Agreement.

**On June 9, 2004, the Government of the Czech Republic, based on successful negotiation between the Czech ad Swedish parties, by Government decree No. 596,  decided on the lease of Gripen aircraft, and entrusted the Ministry of Defence with finalizing negotiations with the Swedish party and signing contractual obligations.

**On June 14, 2004, agreements between the Czech Republic and the Kingdom of Sweden concerning the lease of JAS-39 Gripen aircraft for the needs of the Czech Armed Forces were signed at the Ministry of Defence. By these agreements, the Czech Republic’s airspace protection will be secured through leasing the JAS-39 aircraft for the duration of 10 years (from 2005 till 2015).

In 2005, service life of the MiG-21 supersonic aircraft of Czech Armed Forces’ inventory will be over. (ends)
Agreements on Gripen Supersonic Aircraft Lease Signed Today
(Source: Czech Ministry of Defence; issued June 14, web-posted June 18, 2004)
On Monday, 14 June 2004, a set of agreements were entered into and signed at the Czech Ministry of Defence by the Czech Republic and the Kingdom of Sweden on the lease of JAS 39 Gripen supersonic fighter aircraft to be operated by the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.

The agreements are as follows:

--Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Czech Republic and the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden, which regulates the use options of JAS 39 Gripen fighters by the Czech Republic;

--Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic and Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), on lease of the aircraft, support system  and provision of related services;

--Agreement on Industrial Cooperation Program, through which the Gripen International undertakes to perform in the Czech Republic so-called offset programs valued at 130 percent of the contract value.

A press conference was held after the agreements were signed, attended on behalf of the Czech party by Minister of Defence Miroslav Kostelka, Deputy Minister of Defence for Armaments Jaroslav Kopriva, Chief of General Staff ACR Lieutenant-General Pavel Stefka and the Head of the Czech negotiation team COL Vladimir Ficenec; and Minister of Defence Leni Bjorklund, Director of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Jan-Olof Lind and Executive Director of Gripen International Ian McNamee representing the Swedish party.

Pursuant to the signed contracts, the Czech Republic will lease 14 new JAS 39 Gripen supersonic fighters. The lease period starts on the day of acceptance of the first plane and terminates as at September 30th, 2015. The first 6 fighters are to be delivered to the Czech Armed Forces in April 2005, the remainder in August and October 2005. Pilot training will be launched in August 2004.

The total contract price, amounting to CZK 19.650 bn., is fixed and will not be subject to possible future exchange rate fluctuation. The Czech Republic will repay the lease on annual basis. Thirty projects have already been agreed upon in the framework of the offset program, while 20 percent of the Swedish investments will be directed immediately into the Czech defence and aviation industry.

“The Czech Republic becomes the first NATO nation to use a fourth-generation supersonic aircraft. You will be proud of it“, said Leni Bjorklund, Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Sweden, in conclusion of the press conference.


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