The Czech Republic has formalized an agreement with the United States to acquire 24 F-35 Lightning II aircraft.
According to Lockheed Martin, the European nation sealed the deal by signing a letter of offer and acceptance on Monday.
Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager of the F-35 program at Lockheed, confirmed that the Czech Republic is the 18th nation to join the fifth-generation fighter program.
With the new aircraft, the Czech Republic will improve its interoperability with other European nations and contribute to NATO’s increasing deterrent capability, Lauderdale said.
As a government-to-government deal, the aircraft procurement will go through the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program.
The first of the F-35s, with the latest Block 4 configuration, is expected to be shipped to the Czech Air Force starting in 2031.
The acquisition also includes personnel training, service and logistical support, Lockheed said.
“Their procurement will significantly increase combat readiness of the Czech armed forces,” Defense Minister Jana Cernochova said at the signing ceremony.