The Slovakian Deputy Defence Minister Martin Vojtašovič announced that the Slovak Republic will not be supported by the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) in renovating Sliač Air Base to receive the nation’s newly acquired F-16 fleet. 

Sliač Air Base is a strategic operating base for fighter jets that requires upgrades to host the Slovak Air Force F-16 Block 70 fleet of 14 fighter jets. The first two F-16 fighter jets will arrive within a month, but will remain at Kuchyňa Air Base until the necessary infrastructure is in place at Sliač. 

“We held very fair and direct talks,” said Vojtašovič, speaking from Luxembourg following a working meeting with NSPA so discuss delivery of the F-16 Beddown Infrastructure Programme. “NSPA understands our position that we need to complete building Sliač Air Base as soon as possible. Now it’s up to us to speed up the processes at the national level and to have the construction and reconstruction works fully under control.”

Slovakian Supreme Audit Office slams Sliač modernisation

The decision follows a report from the Supreme Audit Office (SAO) of the Slovak Republic, published on 24 May, 2024, that criticised the current renovation of the Sliač airport as an example of bad practice, with “significant failures identified by the auditors throughout the preparation process as well as in the project management of this strategic investment.”

“Even now, almost six years after the decision to purchase the fighter jets, it is unclear when the project will be completed, what the final bill for its comprehensive overhaul will be, and when F-16 fighter jets will be able to operate at the renovated airport,” continued the SAO.

During the purchase of the F-16’s in 2020, the SAO had highlighted the risks involved in the successful implementation of the project. An initial estimate of the cost to renovate Sliač came in at €55m ($58.9m) in 2018. By 2023, the Ministry of Defence estimate was €125m, but the current estimates are nearly four times the original amount, with the cost predicted to be between  €150m and €200m. 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

In the SAO conclusion, the final cost of the renovation to Sliač airbase was expected to be determined by a tender for construction handled by the NSPA, and the decision for the Slovak Republic to complete the works on its own represents a severe derailment from the original vision.

Guarantees of transparency?

Releases from the Ministry of Defence for the Slovak Republic in August 2020 and June 2021 are explicit about the benefits of procurement through the NSPA, securing a guarantee of transparency and compliance with the rules of international competitive bidding. Following the agreement between the Slovak Republic Ministry of Defence and the NSPA leadership to complete the Sliač Air Base without NSPA support, the project will go ahead without these guarantees. 

In 2022, Slovakia and the United States approved a defence military treaty to allow the US to use Slovak Air Force bases Sliač and Kuchyňa for ten years, with the Slovak Republic to receive $100m from the US in order to modernise the facilities.