The Slovak Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed three separate preliminary Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOAs) for the purchase of 14 F-16 fighter jets from the US.
The LOAs are part of technical arrangements signed by the MoD Modernisation Department to launch the SVK Air Force’s fighter jet fleet replacement process.
The Lockheed Martin-built F-16 fighter jets will be procured through the US Government’s foreign military sales programme.
Aircraft deliveries are expected to complete by the end of 2023. The aircraft will be deployed to protect the Slovak airspace and provide close air support to its land forces.
Meanwhile, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini noted that the LOAs will be invalid without the approval of the Finance Ministry.
In a statement, the MoD said: “The final decision on the signing of the agreement on the replacement of the SVK Air Forceʼs fighter jet fleet falls fully within the competence of the SVK Government. The MoD has never cast any doubt whatsoever on this proposition.”
“Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš fully respects the Prime Ministerʼs position whereby another approval by the Finance Ministry is required before the LOAs are officially signed, and he will act accordingly in this respect.”
In July, the Slovak Republic Security Council and Cabinet approved the purchase of F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 70 / 72 fighter jets.
Under the proposed sale, the US will also provide aerial munitions, logistics support and flying and ground personnel training.
The F-16 Block 70 is the newest generation of the Fighting Falcon featuring improved radar systems, advanced weapons capabilities and enhanced battlespace awareness.