Presov, July 20 (TASR) – Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) handed over two UH-60M Black Hawk military utility helicopters to the Slovak Armed Forces’ Air Unit in Presov on Friday.
The choppers were bought and delivered from the United States and form part of the Slovak Armed Forces’ largest defence modernisation contract ever.
The first two helicopters were handed over in August of last year. “If everything goes according to plan, five more helicopters will be delivered next year,” said Gajdos. Six crews have already been trained for the new machines, with the training of three more still going on in the USA.
According to Gajdos, modernisation of military equipment must always go hand in hand with personnel training. “We’ve trained two of our own instructors to continue the training of pilots, who started with this in the United States,” said Slovak Air Force chief Lubomir Svoboda.
Svoboda also said that the military want to equip the helicopters with machine guns and air-launched missiles so that they’ll be able to help ground forces. The helicopters will also be deployed to fulfil domestic crisis management tasks, such as rescue actions and responses to natural disasters.
Nine Black Hawks in total were purchased by Slovakia for $261 million. Two years of logistics support, aerial and technical training and expenditures connected with the helicopters’ transfer to Slovakia are all included in the price.