Slovakia to Procure U.S. F-16 or Swedish JAS 39 Gripen Fighter Jets

Slovakia Ministry of Defence is planning to procure either the U.S.-built F-16 Fighting Falcon or Swedish-built JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets for its Air Force.

The statement from the Ministry said that the new proposal to replace its aging Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets will be submitted by P. Gajdoš, the country’s Minister of Defence, to the Slovak Cabinet no later than 29 June 2018.

The document will contain detailed analyses and an overview of the costs pertaining to the fightersʼprocurement, operation and support infrastructure.

The statement added that the ministry is not considering the procurement of a new Russian supersonic aircraft.

Saab JAS 39 Gripen

Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab.

It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet).

The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. It is powered by the Volvo RM12, and has a top speed of Mach 2. Later aircraft are modified for NATO interoperability standards and to undertake air to air refuelling.

As of 2013, more than 247 Gripens have been built.

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) for the United States Air Force (USAF).

Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft.

The Fighting Falcon’s key features include a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system which helps to make it a nimble aircraft.

The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment. The F-16’s official name is “Fighting Falcon”, but “Viper” is commonly used by its pilots and crews.

Although no longer being purchased by the U.S. Air Force, improved versions are still being built for export customers.

Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976. As of 2015, it is the world’s most numerous fixed-wing aircraft in military service.

In addition to active duty for U.S. Air Force (USAF), Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), and Air National Guard (ANG) units, the aircraft is also used by the aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the United States Navy. The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations.

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