Czech military receives 24 U.S. AMRAAM missiles

The Czech military has received 24 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) from the United States, Defense Ministry spokesman Andrej Cirtek said on Wednesday.

The AMRAAM missiles are to improve the combat qualities of the Jas-39 Gripen fighters the Czech Republic has leased from Sweden, the Czech news agency CTK quoted Cirtek as saying.

The Czech-U.S. contract for the purchase of AMRAAMs was signed in 2005.

The Czech military has leased a total of 14 Jas-39 Gripens from Sweden for 10 years for 19.6 billion crowns (1 billion U.S. dollars).

“Having been equipped with the AMRAAM missiles the Gripens become a full-value combat system,” Cirtek said.

The military has earmarked 700 million crowns (39 million U.S. dollars) for the purchase, he said.

The military is to start using the AMRAAMs in the weeks to come, he added.

Up until now the Czech military has used Gripens equipped with turret guns and the Sidewinder short-range missiles, according to the CTK.

While the Sidewinders can only be used in short-distance combats, the AMRAAMs use combined targeting, being able to detect and destroy several targets at the same time within the rage of about 30 kilometers, the CTK said.

In addition, the AMRAAM missiles can be used in any weather.

Cirtek said that the four meter-long AMRAAMs are used by a number of NATO forces, for instance on the F-15s, F-14s and Eurofighters.