The Czech Republic will buy 24 US-made F-35 fighter jets, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told reporters on Wednesday.
“The first F-35s will be ready in 2029 and our pilots will start training with them in the United States then,” Fiala said.
He added that the first supersonic jets would arrive in the Czech Republic in 2031 and the army would have all 24 planes at its disposal by 2035.
Defense Minister Jana Cernochova said the total price was 150 billion koruna ($6.5 billion).
“We will pay about 106 billion koruna for the planes, ammunition, simulators, training and other items by 2034,” Cernochova told reporters.
The rest will cover fuel and infrastructure, for instance.
The Czech army currently uses 14 Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets, whose lease will expire in 2027.
Starting next year, the government plans to spend two percent of its gross domestic product on defense, in line with its NATO pledge.
“For our defense, it is important to boost our ties with NATO allies,” Fiala said.
“With this step, we are telling them we’re taking the defense of our country seriously and that they can reckon with us.”