The Slovak government has signed a EUR1.6 billion (USD1.8 billion) procurement contract with the US Department of Defense (DoD) for 14 Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft.
"The Slovak Republic officially signed documents on the basis of which it will procure 12 single-seat fighters and two two-seater versions", Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said on 12 December.
The contract includes provisions for support as well as the training of air and ground crew. Raytheon AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles are also included.
The Slovak armed forces will take delivery of the first four aircraft in 2022, two of which will be two-seater variants, and the remaining 10 single-seater aircraft by December 2023. The F-16V features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80 and also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar [SABR]), a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground-collision avoidance system.
Slovakia selected the latest version of the F-16 to replace its fleet of 12 Russian-built MiG-29 'Fulcrum' aircraft that are becoming obsolete (only two or three aircraft are airworthy at any one time).
Slovak Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources say it will extend the service-life contract of the MiG-29 fleet until December 2023, when the Slovak armed forces take delivery of all 14 F-16 aircraft. The MoD will need to negotiate with Russia or third-party countries in order to secure the necessary spare parts for its MiG-29 fleet.
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