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Putin Should Worry: Russia Is Getting Surrounded by F-35 Stealth Fighters

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter continues to be the choice of air forces around the world. The latest country to join the F-35 community is the Czech Republic. 

F-35. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.
F-35. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter continues to be the choice of air forces around the world. The latest country to join the F-35 community is the Czech Republic. 

Last week, the U.S. Department of State authorized the sale of a squadron of 24 F-35A Lighting II stealth fighter jets to the eastern European country in a deal that will exceed the $5 billion mark.

F-35 Stealth Fighters in Eastern Europe 

The Czech air force will be getting 24 copies of the conventional take-off and landing version, or “A,” of the F-35 Lighting II. In addition, the eastern European country is getting a lot of munitions. 

Specifically, the sale includes 70 radio-guided AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) with the necessary guidance kits, 50 AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking air-to-air missiles plus the guidance kits, 86 GBU-53 Small Diameter Bombs (increment II Stormbreaker), 12 MK-84 2000lbs General Purpose Bombs, and 12 Joint Direct Attack Munition tail kits for the GBU-31. 

Although the munitions offer a balance between air and ground missions, they are likely inadequate to sustain large-scale fighting. 

Right now, the Czech air force operates just 12 JAS 39 Gripen on lease from Sweden and has a limited supply of AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder munitions. As such, the introduction of the F-35 Lighting II and its advanced munitions will take the Czech air force to the new era. 

Equally important, the addition of the fifth-generation stealth fighter jet to the Czech air force increases its interoperability with other NATO countries and the deterrence of the transatlantic alliance.  

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the State Department stated in a press release

The sale of the stealth aircraft, munitions, and related equipment will cost approximately $5.6 billion.

“The proposed sale will improve the Czech Republic’s defense capabilities as well as support NATO operations by guarding against modern threats and maintaining a constant presence in the region. The Czech Republic will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces,” the State Department added.

European F-35s 

With the addition of the Czech Republic to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the community of European countries operating the stealth fighter jets continues to grow. 

Over the past months, Finland, Switzerland, and Germany have picked the F-35 Lighting II as their next-generation fighter jet. 

In addition to these countries, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are operating either the F-35A or F-35B (short take-off/vertical landing) versions of the stealth fighter jet. 

But the European F-35 community is likely to grow even further in the near future. Greece has sent a request for a squadron of 20 F-35A Lighting II fighter jets with the option to buy another 20. 

Country by country, Europe is voting in favor of the F-35

A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

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1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.