Gripens put through paces over Czech Rep

Two out of six new Swedish Gripen jets, patrolling Czech air space, were used in training flights on Friday. In May the Gripens replaced the Czech military's Soviet-made MiG-21s, in use in the Czech Republic (and former Czechoslovakia) since the early 1970s. The Air Force has said two Gripen jets will routinely alternate on 24-hour alert: either on the airfield or in training flights. Momentarily the Czech air force has eight trained pilots capable of operatating the Gripens. There will be an additional thirteen.

Over the next ten years the Czech Republic will pay 19.6 billion crowns, around 800 million US dollars, for the lease of a total of fourteen Gripen jets. The Czech air force is due to receive additional planes next month.

Author: Jan Velinger