F-16V - Slovak Republic
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. Lockheed Martin considered Slovakia two years earlier as an uninteresting territory. It did not make an offer on the air defense radar and saw no chance of selling fighters to Slovakia. But then the defense ministry took over the nominees of CIS chairman Andrey Danko, and everything looksed different.
Slovakia intended for these aircraft to replace its current fleet of MiG-29s. Slovakia's current fighters are not interoperable with U.S forces or regional allies. Purchase of the F-16V will provide Slovakia with fourth generation fighter aircraft capability that is interoperable with the United States and NATO. The proposed sale of new F-l6V's to Slovakia will not impact the regional balance of power.
Vladimir Popov, a former Air Force pilot and now editor-in-chief of the Aviapanorama journal, said that both the MiG-29 and the F-16 belong to the same class of light fighter jets with fairly similar tactical and technical characteristics. Popov pointed to the MiG’s dual-engine configuration as an asset improving its combat survivability and enabling it to survive direct missile hits. “Even if one of its engines is hit, can keep flying on the other and return to base,” Popov said. The expert said that the Mig-29’s climb rate is 330 meters a second compared to the F-16’s 220-290. Moreover, the MiG can skim the ground at just 340 kilometers an hour (211 miles an hour), while its US counterpart may stall when flying under 390-420 kilometers an hour (242-260 miles an hour). The MiG’s maximum high altitude speed is up to 2.3 Mach while that of the F-16 does not exceed 2 Mach.
In the opinion of the general, Slovakia is "making its choice", relying not only on the technical characteristics of the airplanes, but also on the political boom. "The total hysteria against Russia has definitely been reflected in the possibilities of" choice, "Popov says. The expert thinks that "modernizing existing combat aircraft in modern conditions will always prove to be much easier and cheaper and thus more effective for the economy of any state."
"Mig-29 fighters are already in the service, it would be easier for them to modernize, reducing the costs of retraining technicians, changes in command station equipment, airports redevelopment, acquisition of a significant proportion of new airplane airplanes due to technology change and their preparation, for example for flights and combat use, which, as it seems, was not fully discussed in the initial contract," explained Popov.
The US State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Slovakia of F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft for an estimated cost of $2.91 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on April 3, 2018.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded. The JAS 39 Gripen Swedish fighters continued in play, which Robert Fico's second government had begun to negotiate. "After considering the offer - from both the US and the Swedish side - Defense Minister Peter Gajdoš will make the most effective solution to the government," a Defense Ministrye spokeswoman said. The ministry planned to make a definitive decision by the end of June 2018. According to Daily N, however, the Swedish offer is not really counted. The ministry negotiators, headed by the armaments director, General Daniel of Zmek, who has been put up by Danko's people, seriously negotiate only with the Americans.
The Slovak Republic requested a possible sale of fourteen (14) F-16 Block 70/72 V configuration aircraft; up to sixteen (16) F-16 F110 General Electric or F100 Pratt & Whitney engines (MDE); fifteen (15) M61 A1 Vulcan 20mm Guns (MDE); sixteen (16) APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars (MDE); fourteen (14) Modular Mission Computers (MDE); fourteen (14) LINK-16 (MIDS-JTRS) secure communication systems (MDE); sixteen (16) LN260 EGI Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) (MDE); fourteen (14) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (MDE); fourteen (14) Improved Programmable Display Generators (iPDGs) (MDE).
The sale also included thirty (30) AIM-120C7 air-to-air missiles, one hundred (100) AIM-9X air-to air missiles; twelve (12) AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles, two (2) AIM-120C7, twenty-four (24) AIM-9X additional guidance units; two hundred twenty-four (224) each Computer Control Groups and Airfoil Groups for GBU-12 Paveway II 5001b Guided Bomb Kits; twenty (20) Enhanced Computer Control Groups for Enhanced Paveway II (GBU-49); one hundred fifty (150) KMU-572F/B Guidance Kits for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) 5001b Guided Bomb (GBU-38); sixty (60) LAU-129 Guided – Missile Launchers; thirty-six (36) MK-82 or BLU-111 500 lb Inert Fill Bomb; four hundred (400) MK-82 or BLU-111 500 lb Bomb Bodies; four hundred (400) FMU-152 Joint Programmable Fuzes; and six (6) AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Pods.
Also included were fourteen (14) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System II; fourteen (14) AN/ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management Systems; sixteen (16) AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites; sixteen (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.
This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO partner that is an important force for ensuring peace and stability in Europe. The proposed sale will support Slovakia’s needs for its own self-defense and support NATO defense goals. Slovakia intends to use these F-16s to modernize its Air Force and strengthen its homeland defense.
The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin, headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. There are no known offset agreements in conjunction with this sale, however, the US expectd Slovakia to request some amount of industrial participation. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor. Implementation of this proposed sale may require assignment of a small number of U.S. Government representatives (less than 10) and a modest number of contractor representatives (less than 50) to Slovakia. It is likely that no permanent U.S. persons will actually be required in country. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
Slovakia will purchase 14 US F-16 Block 70/72 tactical fighter jets and will sign the relevant contracts with the US government, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (the ruling Smer party) said on 11 July 2018, after a cabinet session. He added, as quoted by the TASR newswire, that for the package of 14 US fighters, training, ammunition and logistics, Slovakia will pay €1.589 billion over the following years. The cabinet at its session accepted the proposal made by Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (junior coalition Slovak National Party-SNS) to purchase the US F-16s rather than the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen jets, which were also on offer.
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 Slovakia's 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 program 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.
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