Bratislava, September 20 (TASR) – No one is counting on buying Russian MiG jet fighters, as Slovakia is looking for a pro-European and pro-Atlantic solution in terms of modernising the Slovak Air Force, stated Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) at a briefing on Wednesday.
Gajdos noted that an offer from Russia in this regard has been made, however. “We’ve received an offer from Russia, so we can compare possibilities and capabilities, including prices,” said Gajdos, adding that the ministry is currently negotiating the purchase of new jet fighters with the USA and other European states. “Including with Sweden about its Gripen jet fighters … We reject the claim that we’ve given up this option,” said the minister.
According to Gajdos, prolonging the lifespan of the current Russian MiG-29 jet fighters is only a plan B, as the ministry views the purchase of new jet fighters as a priority. “The only limit is money,” he said.
Gajdos further noted that when it comes to the air force, the modernisation process is already in progress. The first two Black Hawk helicopters have already been delivered to Slovakia, and the arrival of Spartan aircraft is expected as well. However, ground forces haven’t yet been touched by modernisation, and therefore it’s necessary to replace outdated equipment with modern, stated the ministry.
Gajdos formally asked the Government to postpone the purchase of new jet fighters until 2018. This move was recently criticised by Defence Ministry State Secretary Robert Ondrejcsak (a Most-Hid nominee), who said that such a move “means extending the contract with Russia and, as an expert, I can’t embrace that”.