The Czech Republic has decided to launch negotiations with the US for purchasing 24 F-35 stealth aircraft, the local press reported Wednesday.
The aircraft will replace 14 Swedish-made JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets in the Czech Air Force’s inventory, said the CT24 news outlet.
The decision was taken after an analysis by the Czech Armed Forces, it added.
It noted, however, that the country might be open to other types of aircraft if an agreement cannot be reached by October 2023.
The Defense Ministry also said on Twitter that an ongoing tender for the purchase of armored combat vehicles was cancelled.
Defense Minister Jana Cernochova has been authorized to open negotiations with Sweden to purchase CV-90 armored combat vehicles, the ministry added.
Radovan Vich, a Czech politician and member of parliament in the Chamber of Deputies for the Freedom and Direct Democracy party, opposed the decision, arguing that the country cannot afford such an expensive purchase.
Pavel Ruzicka of the ANO 2011 party asserted that the decision has political rather than security motives.