Slovak Republic - Air Force Modernization
The Slovak Air Force succeeded in modernising the Radar Surveillance System through the upgrading of the existing P-37 radars. By 2005, the system operated reliably and it fulfilled all duties which arise from membership in NATO. There was some lobbying effort to buy new systems but the Air Force had to consider the financial balance of both the Defence Ministry and the Slovak Republic. It was the right move to do and it was relatively inexpensive.
To go into more detail, six modernised operational and fully compatible radars were obtained for an average price of a single new one. The other radars would also undergo modernisationin stages. Another good example was the setting up of the Air Operations Command and Control Centre in Zvolen.
By 2018 the Slovak military was still using obsolete military radars produced in the former Soviet Union, the lifetime of which has already reached its end. At the same time, the manufacturer can no longer supply replacement parts or provide upgrades due to ongoing sanctions against Russia.
In February 2018 the Defence Ministry halted the international tender for the purchase of 3D radars. The department announced the tender under former minister, Martin Glvác of Smer. In response, the ex-minister said, as quoted by the Sme daily, that he does not understand why the ministry would cancel it. The ministry claimed they disliked the fact that in more than two years, not even the first round of the tender had been completed, and thus, the tender failed to achieve a result. The international competition was launched in 2015, with four candidates in the first round. The estimated contract value was €60 million excluding VAT.
By 2005 the Armed Forces were planning to renew its fleet of transport aircraft as soon as possible, whereas helicopters would follow next; the final wave would see the replacement of fighter aircraft. Transport aircraft required the most immediate replacement. The Slovak Armed Forces had two AN 24 and two AN 26 cargo aircraft. Those aircraft had been put to maximum use, and their flight hours have reached 126% of design life.
By March 2008 a council of experts headed by the Slovak NAD was reviewing Slovak Air Force requirements and once the "most suitable one" had been identified, the government would issue a tender. The Government would prefer to finance the purchase over a 8-10 year period and would seek direct offsets, per a new government policy (not law) requiring offsets in any projects whose value exceeds 6 million Euro.
On 22 December 2008 it was announced by the Slovakian Ministry of Defence that the C-27J had been selected as the future tactical transport aircraft. Negotiations for the procurement of two aircraft and arrangements for offset agreements proved protracted, and the agreement was signed only in 2014. Part of the contract includes five-years of logistics support. The first of two Spartan C-27J military cargo aircraft for the Armed Forces arrived in Slovakia 25 October 2017. "From the perspective of modernising our armed forces, this was another historical event. After the last [Antonov] An-26 aircraft was dismantled, our air force did not have a transport aircraft with such capacity," says defence minister Peter Gajdoš.
The first real deployment of the Slovak C-27J Spartan transport aircraft was carried out by crew under the command of the commander of the first wing of the transport wing of the transport corridor Major Kuchyn Stanislav Štovka on 14 March 2018 shortly after the day, on the route Sliac - Larnaca (Cyprus). The flight was scheduled for XXXV transportation. rotation of UN peacekeeping mission UNFICYP. At Sliac airport, trained personnel from the tactical wing Sliac took care of loading the oversized cargo. Another first prize was given to the Flight Squadron Flight Squadron, by the first operational flight C-27J from Sliac airport.
The SVK Government on 27 May 2020 endorsed the Defence Minister's proposal to cancel the 4x4 Multirole Tactical Vehicle procurement programme. In parallel to this, it also approved the start of procurement for essential restoration and refurbishment of Kuchyna Air Base. On the refurbishment of Kuchyna Air Base, the Minister explained that the main reason for that was the need to create enough parking stands for C-27J Spartan airlifters and Let L-410 Turbolet transport aircraft. "Apart from this, we will need to move aircraft from Sliac Air Base, which we must prepare for the arrival of F-16 fighter jets. Therefore, at Kuchyna we will restore the airfield operational surfaces and adjust infrastructure to meet the current requirements. We plan to go ahead with the renovation this year already," he said.
According to a Government-approved document, the refurbishment and extension of the existing operational aprons and the installation of the airfield drainage and ground lighting systems will be part of airfield works at Kuchyna Air Base. The total costs associated with the design documentation for the construction permit procedure and the implementation of works are estimated at €5,042,118.66, VAT included.
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