Bratislava, May 23 (TASR) – The Zuzana 2 artillery system is the best choice for the Slovak Armed Forces, said Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (Slovak National Party/SNS) after the Government greenlighted the purchase of 25 self-propelled howitzers worth a total of €175 million at its session on Wednesday.
The modernisation of heavy artillery was recommended to Slovakia by NATO with respect to its commitment to build a heavy mechanised brigade. The howitzers will be supplied to the military by state-owned company Konstrukta-Defence, with the Government opting for a direct commission without a tender or the potential procurement of foreign military equipment.
Gajdos pointed to the need to support the domestic arms industry, which is also a priority for his party. “Our artillery system has its benefits, and I’m proud that our enterprises are capable of manufacturing such a world-class quality product. I hope that by having it introduced into the Slovak Armed Forces, it will also meet a prerequisite that would allow its purchase by other NATO-member states,” said the minister at a press conference.
Gajdos rejected notions that the procurement is overpriced. As for the fact that the bid for French Caesar howitzers stood at €5.5 million per piece, whereas the Zuzana 2 ones will be purchased by the state for €6.064 million each, the minister claimed that some parameters of the Slovak product are better.
Of the total €175 million, €152 million will be spent on the howitzers and the rest on training personnel, a firing simulator, the necessary spare parts and artillery munitions. The Zuzana 2 howitzers are slated to be delivered by 2022.