Final Word from Wednesday, November 5, 2003





There's such a surplus of fighters that some countries are willing almost to give them away. More by luck than by design, the CR is buying 14 fighters at a very good time. An earlier tender fell apart, ruining BAE's chances to sell the Gripen to the air force. Or so it appeared. Until Právo reported that Sweden was offering 14 new Gripens for the price of used ones, it seemed that U.S. planes were sure to win. TV Nova even talked of a deal calling for Europe to sell civilian planes to ČSA and the U.S. to sell military planes to the air force. Perhaps it was a mistake to underestimate BAE Systems. It dropped out of sight after the previous tender was canceled and is now letting the Swedes do the talking. Together, they're putting the Czechs on the spot. If their offer is rejected, the tables will be turned and the Americans will be the ones suspected of undue lobbying or even corruption. supersonic

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