The most extensive modernization programme in the history of the Slovak Armed Forces is becoming a reality. In the presence of PM Peter Pellegrini at the Office of the SVK Government today (12 December), Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš signed the Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs), the contractual documents needed to procure U.S. F-16 fighter jets, and the Framework Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic and Lockheed Martin Corporation, an industrial cooperation agreement on developing Slovakiaʼs aerospace industry and securing a gradual transfer of authority for aircraft maintenance to the SVK defence industry.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Slovak Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš said: “This marks a historic momentum for Slovakia and my thanks go out to members of the SVK Cabinet for identifying themselves with our proposed solution and agreeing on the best solution for the future of SVK airspace protection in terms of quality and price.”
Highlighting the significance of the signed contract, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said: “This is an important moment in the history of the Slovak Republic, because the investment is worth over €1.6 billion. It is an act whereby the Slovak Republic recognises its commitment to moving towards increased defence spending and reaching the 2 % of GDP benchmark for defence expenditure, one which will continue to guarantee the sovereignty and protection of Slovak airspace. The Slovak Republic thus wants to send a clear signal that it sees its future place in the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance alike.”
The signed contract covers a comprehensive training programme for 22 pilots and 160 aircraft technicians, as well as a 2-year logistics support package, starting from the aircraft in-service date (ISD) in the Slovak Republic.
During the signing ceremony, three separate Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs), which are instrumental in effecting the performance of the agreement via the U.S. Government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, were signed upon approval by the SVK Ministry of Finance. They cover the procurement of 14 new F-16 aircraft, aerial munitions, logistics support, and training of flying and ground personnel.
The SVK Air Force will receive delivery of its first F-16s in the fourth quarter of 2022, with the last aircraft to be delivered by the end of 2023. Of the 14 aircraft, 12 jets will be one-seaters and 2 jets will be two-seat trainers. Being fully compatible with NATO systems, the aircraft will be equipped with the most advanced systems that are available for this type of jets.