WARSAW, Poland — Slovak Defense Minister Peter Gajdos said that while the ministry has received offers from the U.S. to supply the F-16 and Sweden to deliver the JAS-39 Gripen for its planned purchase of 14 fighter jets, MiGs aren’t under consideration.
“Certainly, no one is counting that we will purchase MiGs,” Gajdos said, according to local daily Novy Cas. Earlier this month, he said that Bratislava evaluated Russia’s offer to supply new aircraft, but this was done to provide the ministry with a better negotiating position.
The planned procurement to replace Slovakia’s Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-29 jets is valued at about €1.1 billion (U.S. $1.32 billion). Slovakia aims to acquire new fighter jets before 2019, when the servicing deal for the MiG-29s is set to expire.
The ministry was expected to select the contractor by the end of September, but Gajdos said he has requested six more months to make a final decision. Deputy Defense Minister Robert Ondrejcsak was critical of the delay, saying on Sept. 27 that Slovakia’s Air Force will be forced to “extend its dependence on Russia.” Ondrejcsak represents the Most-Hid party, the coalition partner of the Slovak National Party, which named Gajdos for the position.
Other major planned procurements for the Slovak military include the purchase of around 500 infantry fighting vehicles for about €1.2 billion (U.S. $1.4 billion).
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.