The Czech Republic government has taken a significant step in modernizing its air force by signing a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) to procure 24 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
This decision, made through the U.S. government Foreign Military Sale, marks the Czech Air Force’s commitment to enhancing its capabilities with the latest advanced Block 4 configuration F-35s, with the first delivery scheduled for 2031.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt, the program executive officer of the F-35 Joint Program Office, expressed satisfaction with the Czech Republic’s official participation in the F-35 program. He emphasized that this partnership would provide the Czech Air Force with unparalleled interoperability and the ability to address current and future threats effectively.
Apart from the aircraft acquisition, the procurement encompasses personnel training, service and logistical support, and the development of various support services to ensure the successful integration of all 24 F-35s.
Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, highlighted the significance of the Czech Republic becoming the 18th nation to join the global F-35 program. She stressed the value of the F-35’s 5th Generation capabilities in strengthening the Czech Republic’s defense capabilities for 21st-century security challenges.
The F-35 has become the aircraft of choice for European nations looking to replace legacy fighter fleets due to its unmatched interoperability with NATO and other allies. By the 2030s, over 600 F-35s will be in operation across more than 10 European countries, including two full U.S. F-35 squadrons stationed at Royal Air Force Lakenheath. Additionally, the F-35 program is expected to create job opportunities for the next several decades and foster strategic industrial partnerships with Czech industry.
With F-35s now operational from 32 bases worldwide and over 990 deliveries to date, the aircraft continues to prove its value. Over 2,280 pilots and 15,400 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has accumulated more than 773,000 cumulative flight hours.