Slovakia to replace ageing MiGs with F-16s or Gripens

  • Redakce ESJ
  • 5.2.2018 10:26

On February 2, the Slovak Ministry of Defense informed that the final competitors for the purchase of 14 new fighter aircrafts are the U.S. F-16 offered by Lockheed-Martin and the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen. The selected crafts are to replace the obsolete Russian MiG-29 AS/UBS with their maintenance contract expiring in 2019.

Their main task is to guard the Slovak airspace and also to participate in the collective protection of the Alliance airspace (NATINAMDS). Slovakia has to choose a platform which will be technologically and economically the most balanced - able to operate and possibly modernise at acceptable costs over a period of several decades. Possible cost savings can come from joint training or sharing operational capacities with partner states, the F-16s is currently operated by Poland, the Gripens are used by the Czech Republic and Hungary. The F-16s are offered in the Block 70/72 version that contains electronic components from newer F-22 Raptor or F-35 jets. The Gripens dominate in operating price as its flight hour costs around €3,700. The F-16s, on the other hand, is a battle-proven aircraft tested not only in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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