US State Dept approves sale of F-35 aircraft to Czech Republic
PHOTO CAPTION: Illustrative photo — F-35 Lightning fighter jets confuct night flying trials off the United Kingdom’s HMS Queen Elizabeth. (Photo by Dane Wiedmann via U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of F-35 fighter jets, munitions and related equipment to the Czech Republic in a deal valued at up to $5.62 billion, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on Thursday. The principal contractors will be Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing.
Last year, the Czech government said it wanted to buy 24 F-35 jets to replace leased Gripen fighters from Sweden's Saab AB .
The package approved by the State Department would also include a spare engine, 70 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs), various bombs, support equipment, spares and technical support, the Pentagon said.
Despite approval by the State Department, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Deepa Babington)