As the Czech Air Force continues to weigh up its plans to potentially replace its 14-strong Saab JAS-39C/D Gripen multi-role fighter fleet, Lockheed Martin has revealed that it has decided to drop its F-16 Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon proposal to instead prioritise its F-35A Lightning II offering.
The move was revealed by JR McDonald, vice president of F-35 Business Development at Lockheed Martin, during the opening day of the ILA Berlin Airshow on June 22. Commenting on the prospective Czech fighter competition – which aims to replace the JAS-39C/D fleet by 2027 – McDonald said: “Initially we offered both the F-16 Block 70/72 and F-35A, but after evaluating their needs, we have dropped the F-16. As far as we know, the Czech Air Force requirement is for between 18-24 [aircraft].
“We expect the Czech Ministry of Defence (MOD) to have made a decision by the end of the year, whether that is to delay, issue a request for information and select a platform. We don’t know at the moment,” he added.