Czech cabinet may call extraordinary meeting to decide on fighter jets

17-12-2003

The Czech cabinet, in the midst of deciding amongst five proposals to replace the country's aging fleet of MiG-21 fighter jets, has indicated more time may be needed to reach a final decision. Earlier, it was expected the government would reach a decision on the purchase this Wednesday. However, some government officials have revealed an extraordinary government session may be needed to decide on the purchase later, Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla saying the matter was "too serious to decide in haste". In the government tender the Czech Republic received five offers on new fighter jets from countries including Sweden, Belgium, the U.S., and the Netherlands, with a commission of experts recommending in November that the Czech Air Force opt for Sweden's offer for 14 Gripen fighter jets, manufactured by Saab/BAE Systems. Since then, Belgium, the U.S., and the Netherlands have all expressed the desire to put forward what they called new and final bids, a possibility the Defence Ministry has rejected thus far.