Slovak Air Force Selects F-16 Block 70/72 Fighter Aircraft to Replace its Ageing MiG-29s

The Government of the Slovak Republic has selected Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 fighter aircraft, on July 11, to replace Slovak Air Force’s ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 combat jets.

The new fighters will provide protection and sovereignty of the airspace of the Slovak Republic, as well as support for ground forces operations, said a Slovak Ministry of Defence statement.

“Based on thorough analyzes, we have chosen the best solution because they are state-of-the-art modern machines that have no competition in terms of price, quality and capabilities, and what we can afford as a country,” said Defense Minister Peter Gajdoš. He also thanked both the US and the Swedish government for serious offers and negotiations.

Earlier, it was announced that Slovakia is planning to procure either the U.S.-built F-16 Fighting Falcon or Swedish-built Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets for its Air Force.

“I am proud of the fact that the Defense Department experts along with the Armed Forces experts have made the most of their efforts to assess individual offers, professionally and with full responsibility. And together with the Unit, the value of money processed the material that the government approved today. The so-called ” independent analysts that I should not have a professional discussion I do not consider correct. Soldiers, as users, will know the needs of the armed forces best, ” added Ján Hoľko , Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic.

On April 3, the U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Slovakia of F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft for an estimated cost of $2.91 billion.

According to the ministry statement, the U.S. offer was more advantageous for the Slovak Republic in terms of all parameters, and in this regard the ministry rejected any speculation that the reason for choosing the F-16 aircraft is later delivery and thus prolongation of dependence on Russian technology. “While the treaty with the US government is ready for signature, the Swedish side insisted on the negotiation of details only after a government decision was taken. When the delivery dates of both aircraft depend on the signing of the contract”, the head of the Defense Department explained. In addition, if a Swedish offer was accepted, part of the material would have to be delivered from a third party, which would have delayed delivery.

When considering and taking into account all parameters, the US offer was cheaper. The Defense Department compared the price, ammunition, pilot training costs and ground staff, logistics, infrastructure completion, delivery times and other operating costs up to the year 2040.

The F-16 Block 70 is the newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration, combining numerous capability and structural upgrades.

The F-16 Block 70 features advanced avionics, a proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar (Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, SABR), a modernized cockpit, advanced weapons, conformal fuel tanks (CFT), an automatic ground collision avoidance system (Auto GCAS), an advanced engine and an industry-leading extended structural service life of 12,000 hours.

The package approved by U.S. for possible sale to Slovakia:

+ 14 F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft;
+ up to 16 F-16 F110 General Electric or F100 Pratt & Whitney engines (MDE);
+ 15 M61 A1 Vulcan 20mm Guns (MDE);
+ 16 APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars (MDE);
+ 14 Modular Mission Computers (MDE);
+ 14 LINK-16 (MIDS-JTRS) secure communication systems (MDE);
+ 16 LN260 EGI Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) (MDE);
+ 14 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (MDE);
+ 14 Improved Programmable Display Generators (iPDGs) (MDE);
+ 30 AIM-120C7 air-to-air missiles,
+ 100 AIM-9X air-to­ air missiles;
+ 12 AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles,
+ two AIM-120C7, 24 AIM-9X additional guidance units;
+ 224 each Computer Control Groups and Airfoil Groups for GBU-12 Paveway II 5001b Guided Bomb Kits;
+ 20 Enhanced Computer Control Groups for Enhanced Paveway II (GBU-49);
+ 150 KMU-572F/B Guidance Kits for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) 5001b Guided Bomb (GBU-38);
+ 60 LAU-129 Guided – Missile Launchers;
+ 36 MK-82 or BLU-111 500 lb Inert Fill Bomb;
+ 400 MK-82 or BLU-111 500 lb Bomb Bodies;
+ 400 FMU-152 Joint Programmable Fuzes;
+ six AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Pods.
+ 14 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II;
+ 14 AN/ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management Systems;
+ 16 AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites;
+ 16 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispensers; Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF),
+ Secure Communications and Cryptographic Appliques;
+ Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS);
+ ground training device (flight simulator);
+ Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program (ECISAP) support;
+ software and support; facilities and construction support;
+ spares and repair/replace parts; personnel training and training equipment;
+ publications and technical documentation; missile containers;
+ DSU-38A/B Illuminated Target Detector (GBU-54);
+ munition support and test equipment; aircraft and munition integration and test support;
+ studies and surveys;
+ U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering and logistical support services; and
+ other related elements of logistics and program support.

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