The US has offered to provide 12 new AH-1Z Viper combat helicopters along with AGM-114 Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles to the Slovak Republic Armed Forces.

This was confirmed by the Slovakia’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 23 March.

The offer to transfer helicopters and missiles comes three days after Slovakia announced that it would donate 13 MiG-29 fighter aircraft, two Kub anti-aircraft missile systems and its control system and equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The 13 MiG-29 aircraft to be delivered to Ukraine are no longer in service with the Slovak Armed Forces.

The associated intergovernmental agreement was signed between the Slovak Republic and Ukraine on 17 March.

Apart from AH-1Z helicopters and Hellfire missiles, the US has offered to provide associated accessories as well as pilot and technician training.

The estimated value of this package, according to Slovakia’s MoD, is expected to be more than $1bn, of which approximately $660m will be provided to Slovakia from the US Department of Defense’s Foreign Military Financing (FMF) initiative.

The remaining $340m will be paid from the Slovak Republic’s national defence budget over a period of the next three to four years.

Slovakia Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď said: “This offer is really very advantageous and will significantly increase the defence potential of Slovakia. We do not currently have combat helicopters at all, so it would be a completely new combat capability.”

Naď said that the latest offer can also be considered as an ‘indirect compensation’ for the delays caused by the US-based company Lockheed Martin in delivering F-16 fighter aircraft.

In December 2018, the Slovak Government approved the procurement of 14 F-16 fighter jets from the US.