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Succession of Czech Gripen: decision between end of March 2013

Published : 4 December 2012
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“The fighter force is and will remain a strong component of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. It is one of the main attributes of the State sovereignty”. With those words, Mr. Vondra, the Czech Defense Minister about to leave, expressed his satisfaction about the last Swedish proposal linked with prolongation of the Gripen fighters lease. Mr. Vondra was talking in the press conference following the State Security Council meeting on 3rd December where he made a briefing about the result of negotiations with Sweden and introduced a new concept of mobilization and use of Reserve forces.

As of last rounds of negotiations, the Swedish offer consists of three proposals according the length of the envisaged lease period (3 years, 5 years and 10 years). Mr. Vondra didn’t want to mention precised figures and only said that the November offer was 10% more interesting than the summer one.

This information, deliberately vague, is fitting only partially with the figures quoted by the Czech press Agency CTK. The 3-year offer accordingly comes to a little bit more than 5 billion Czech crowns (around 200M€), the 5-year one almost comes to 8 billion CZK (around 320 M€) and the 10-year lease amounts to more than 14 billion CZK (560 M€). In order to respect this same order of magnitude, it appears that only the 3-year offer has been reduced by 10%. The 10-year one is only smaller by 1.6% and the 5-year lease got a far better rate – around 15% smaller than in September 2012.

The table below, established thanks to figures printed in the media (in bold) in September and December 2012, tries to sum up this assumption:

Apparently the Swedes did try to answer the most severe critics of last September about the insufficient discount in the 5-year period of time, which was the one privileged by Czechs. And subsequently they also improved a little bit the offer for the 10-year lease.

The Czech government will have until the end of March 2013 to study those Swedish proposals and decide whether they will chose the 5 or 10-year lease. Because one thing is now quite evident: Czechs are happy with this last offer and no one is mentioning any public call for tenders.

Mr. Vondra’s successor will have to finalize a contract from proposals which happen to satisfy also the requirements of the social –democrat political opposition. Mr. Hamáček, the shadow Defense Minister, said that he was ready to negotiate on that basis.