Senate rejects financing of new fighter jets

Foto: www.army.cz

The upper house of the Czech parliament, the Senate, rejected on Friday a financing plan for the purchase of 24 new fighter jets for the Czech Air Force, which is the biggest military deal in Czech history, amounting to nearly 2 billion USD.

The upper house of the Czech parliament, the Senate, rejected on Friday a financing plan for the purchase of 24 new fighter jets for the Czech Air Force, which is the biggest military deal in Czech history, amounting to nearly 2 billion USD.

The British-Swedish consortium of Saab and BAE Systems is to supply 24 JAS-39 Gripen fighters and bring in foreign investment amounting to 150 percent of the purchasing price.

The government proposed financing the deal from revenues from the privatisation of state assets.

The government selected Saab and BAE Systems in a controversial public tender. The financing scheme was narrowly approved by the Lower House which can now override the Senate's veto.

Czech politicians are divided on whether to buy Western aircraft to modernize the Czech air force, now flying obsolete Soviet-made planes. Critics argue that the project will burden the country's finances.