WARSAW — Slovakia's Minister of Defense Martin Glvac has unveiled plans to acquire nine UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in a deal estimated to be worth up to €300 million (US $348 million), reports local daily Pravda.

"They will be supplied over the next six years, and paid for upon delivery," Glvac said.

The minister said that he will inform the country's government, Security Council and the Parliamentary Defense Committee about on the offer by the end of January.

Gen. Milan Maxim, Slovakia's chief of the General Staff, said that the planned procurement will allow the country's military to replace its Soviet-designed Mil Mi-17 copters, increase interoperability with other NATO forces and cut operational costs.

Currently, the Slovak Armed Forces operate a fleet of 14 Mi-17 helos. The twin-turbine transport copter is manufactured by Kazan Helicopters and the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, both of which are subsidiaries of Russia's state-owned defense giant Rostec.

The planned purchase of the helicopters, which are manufactured by US Sikorsky, will be the first step of the Slovak government's plan to overhaul the military's helo fleet, according to Glvac. The copters are to be acquired through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

In 2014, the Slovak Defense Ministry had a budget of 744.7 million, euros ($863.8 million), according to data from the ministry.

Email: jadamowski@defensenews.com.