11. 04. 2018 14:43
Representatives of US aerospace, defense, security and the advanced technologies company Lockheed Martin presented an offer to sell F-16 aircraft to Slovakia on Tuesday. If Slovakia decides to accept the offer, the first F-16 fighter jets could arrive in the country by the end of 2022, they said.
The need to replace obsolete Russian MiG-29 aircraft with more modern fighter jets has been an issue in Slovakia for a long time. Buying American F-16 fighter jets, version BLOCK 70, is one option, while another is Swedish Gripen aircraft. The US arms producer's representative Michael Kelley told the TASR press agency that the proposed F-16 aircraft deal will "be able to compete with Swedish Gripen aircraft and will form part of a package including training and weaponry". He didn't want to be more specific about the sum, as the sale is still under negotiation. F-16 BLOCK 70 aircraft are currently in operation in 25 countries, including, for example, Italy, Norway and Poland.
Based on a request from the Slovak Defence Ministry, the US Congress on Wednesday (April 4) began dealing with a Letter of Offer and Acceptance related to an offer of F-16 aircraft to Slovakia for a total amount of $2.91 billion. The Defence Ministry pointed out that if the US Congress approves the offer, it won't mean that the ministry leadership has already decided to purchase this type of fighter aircraft. After considering offers from both the USA and Sweden, Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (Slovak National Party/SNS) will submit what is considered to be the most effective solution to the Government by June 29, 2018 at the latest.