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Analysis – Lightning strikes: F-35 continues to storm Europe

An infographic showing the status of F-35 sales across Europe. (Janes)

Two recent announcements pertaining to the Czech Republic and Greece confirmed the seemingly relentless progress of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in securing sales across Europe.

The US State Department approved the sale of up to 40 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35As to Greece on 26 January, and the Czech government signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for 24 F-35As just days later on 29 January, setting the two on a path to join 11 other European countries that have already declared their intent to, or have acquired the F-35.

When the US State Department approved the sale to the Czech Republic in June 2023, the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) acquisition covered the aircraft, air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, spares, training, and support for an estimated USD5.62 billion, while the actual cost quoted by the Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) is USD4.57 billion (not including base infrastructure upgrades).

The Czech Republic approved the F-35A acquisition in September 2023, clearing the Czech Air Force to begin the procurement programme for the aircraft, their related equipment, and weapons. The procurement programme will run from 2024 to 2034, with all aircraft being in service by 2035. Once in service, the type will be operated out of Čáslav Air Base.

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