NATO member Slovakia has decided to purchase 14 Lockheed Martin F-16V fighters and replace their MiG-29 jets in a wider effort to separate from Russia, the Slovak Ministry of Defense’s No. 2 official said Saturday.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum, MoD State Secretary Róbert Ondrejcsák said of the Russian defense industrial relationship: “We are cutting off as quickly as we can.

“The most important connection with Russia is still the MiG-29, which is still Russian manufactured, and it’s what we are cutting now with the decision about the F-16s,” Ondrejcsák said. “There are several other smaller systems.”

In the same vein, Slovakia also expects to receive five more Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, which completes its planned purchase of nine. (Long-term plans call for at least 18 multi-role helicopters to replace Soviet-designed Mi-17 rotorcraft, though no platform has been selected as yet.)

“By replacing them, we are also cutting those ties with Russia,” Ondrejcsák said, adding that Slovakia will fly the UH-60 and Mi-17 for several years while the UH-60 is phased in.

Slovakia was a part of the Soviet bloc during the Cold War but joined the European Union and the NATO military alliance in 2004.

Slovakian officials understand the purchase of American hardware strengthens their strategic relationship, but Ondrejcsák emphasized, on the anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s velvet revolution in 1989, the partnership is based on faith in liberal democratic values.

“We want to see America as a leader in the free world, as they did for 70 years,” Ondrejcsák said. “We hear a lot here at Halifax about the values-based international order, but it’s very real for us.”

Beyond the U.S., leaders of Slovakia and the Czech Republic announced in September the two countries will cooperate on joint purchases of weapons and military equipment. Both have moved to increase their respective defense budgets following Russia’s alleged military intervention in Ukraine’s eastern part and its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

As to the F-16s, Ondrejcsák said the intent is for his government to finalize the legislative vehicle and contract in the coming months to ensure timely delivery of the first F-16s in 2022 or 2023.

In part driven by maintenance costs, Slovakia decided to make a switch from the MiG-29 and ultimately chose the F-16V over the Saab Gripen based on price and internal analysis, according to Ondrejcsák.

The announcement came in July after U.S. State Department in April approved the potential sale of 14 Block 70/72 F-16Vs for Slovakia.

Otherwise, negotiations are also underway for the U.S. to further improve Slovakian air fields in Sliač, which is in central Slovakia and in Malacky, which is in in Western Slovakia.

“We take it as a win-win situation because they are investing in infrastructure, which will be crucial for us too,” Ondrejcsák said of the U.S. military. “Of course its good for them (the U.S. military) because in case of potential operations, they (the airfields) are available.”

The U.S. Air Force has ramped up investments that would enable it to deploy to allied bases in Eastern Europe and operate close to Russia’s western flank. U.S. air field improvements have already included partner air bases in Hungary, Estonia and elsewhere.

As Slovakia upgrades its heavy mechanized units, it is also exploring the modernization of its existing fleet of T-72 main battle tanks, Ondrejcsák said, rather than wait for the next generation of MBT to be developed. No platform has been selected.

“We will upgrade them to the highest possible standards which will allow them to operate in the framework of the mechanized brigade,” he said.

Arms Industries

@armsindustriesusa #AI

You must be logged in to post a comment.

FFL/SOT TERMS & CONDITIONS

This is a controlled item and requires shipping to an authorized Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder. It is your ultimate responsibility to ensure you are in compliance with all rules and regulations that apply to the purchase of firearms and ammunition.

Once you have completed the checkout process and submitted your order, contact your preferred FFL dealer and request they submit a signed copy of their FFL to us via email to ffl@armsindustries.com. To ensure order accuracy, please remember to include your name and order number when emailing us. Failure to do so may delay processing your order.

Please Note: All items in this order will be shipped together. If you have non-FFL items on this order that you would like shipped directly to you, please place them on a separate order.

There will be a 30% restocking fee for all controlled items returned due to a failed background check or a denied underage purchase.

Federal law requires that you be 21 years or age or older to purchase a stripped receiver or frame. If a frame or receiver can only be made into a long gun (rifle or shotgun), it is still a frame or receiver not a handgun or long gun. However, they still are "firearms" by definition, and subject to the same GCA limitations as any other firearms. See Section 921(a)(3)(b). 18 U.S.C. Section 922(b)(1) makes it unlawful for a licensee to sell any firearm other than a shotgun or rifle to any person under the age of 21.

For more information, please see How to Buy a Gun Online

How to Purchase NFA Items

0