View Full Version : To Lease or not to Lease.. that is the question

19th December 2003, 05:08
Shouldn't Ireland consider leasing Gripens too?

What's Mr Smith's telephone number anyway?


Czechs turn down US fighter jets

By Jan Repa
BBC Central and Eastern European analyst

The Czech government has decided to begin negotiations over the lease of 14 Anglo-Swedish Gripen fighter planes to replace their old Soviet-built MiG-21s.
This is the second time the Czechs have chosen to go for the Gripen, with an option to return them after five years, in preference to American-made F-16s.

The Gripens are relatively cheap and technologically up-to-date, without being excessively sophisticated.

The Americans were offering F-16s, but only an older version from the 1980s.

The Czechs air force will lease the Gripens for five years initially
Last year, the Czech government cancelled a plan to buy Gripen fighters, claiming it could no longer afford the cost after that summer's serious floods.

The idea now is to lease 14 aircraft, but Wednesday's decision is not a firm commitment - only a decision to begin negotiations.

Even so, the opposition defence spokesman, Petr Necas, is talking of a "hasty decision". Not much sense of urgency, then.

As the local Lidove Noviny newspaper put it: "This country will not be directly threatened anyway in the next 15 to 20 years".

Polish deal

Some observers point out that with over 3,000 machines in total, Nato, which the Czechs joined four years ago, is hardly short of warplanes.

They ask whether countries like the Czech Republic should be busying themselves with new aircraft, when most officers still cannot communicate effectively in English - Nato's language of command.

On the other hand, modern warplanes are a status symbol and a sign that the Central European military are freeing themselves of reliance on Soviet-designed hardware.

Hungary also opted to lease 14 Gripens two years ago. It won an attractive "off-set" package, whereby all of the aircraft's costs will be spent on technology transfers and other projects to boost Hungarian industry.

Earlier this year, Poland, the largest of the Central European states, decided to buy 48 American F-16 fighters in a deal worth $3.5bn.

The decision went down badly in France, which had been promoting its own Mirage fighter plane.


It was seen as another example of Poland's pro-American orientation.

The American government is granting a $3.8bn loan - while American companies, including the F-16's manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, have pledged to invest more than $6bn in Poland over the next decade.

It is said that the Polish F-16s will be the latest prototype version.

The big question mark hangs over the issue of running costs.

According to the Czechs, the Gripen promises to be much more economical in the longer term. .

Goldie fish
19th December 2003, 05:15
Might be an idea with the new helis too...Shorter lead in time...