Slovakia to buy F-16 jets for €1.6bn
Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (SNS) has apparently decided to purchase 14 U.S. F-16 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin for €1.6bn. His predecessor, Martin Glváč (Smer), preferred the Gripen jets made by Swedish firm Saab. These are officially still being considered, but sources of the N daily say the decision has already been made in favor of the F-16s. These are more advanced than Gripens. Another argument in their favor is that they will be supplied later than the Gripens and the current Russian MiG jets will be in use longer. The companies that maintain them have close links to the SNS, and would receive another €250m in 2019-23. The U.S. government recently approved the sale of 14 F-16 jets, spare parts and air-to-air missiles for $2.9bn to Slovakia. The Slovak Defense Ministry says the price is inflated by €1bn so that in case the Slovak army needs some more parts, the U.S. government does not have to re-approve the deal.