The Czech cabinet on 17 December backed the recommendation of a government commission to lease 14 Saab/BAE Systems Gripen multirole fighters from 2005, after concerted US opposition failed to block the deal (Flight International, 9-15 December). The Czech government expects to complete contract negotiations on the potential 10-year deal with Sweden's Defence Materiel Administration by 28 February. The aircraft will be delivered between April and August 2005, several months before NATO ally Hungary receives its first of 14 leased Gripens.

Source: Flight International