THE DEFENCE Ministry plans to purchase new aircraft for transporting Slovak soldiers on international missions in 2010. Until that time, Slovak soldiers will continue to be transported on Soviet-designed Antonov aircraft, Slovak Armed Forces spokesman Milan Vanga told the media.
The announcement followed a meeting between President Ivan Gašparovič, Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda and Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Ľubomír Bulík on January 31.
According to Vanga, the modernization of military aircraft in Slovakia has been ongoing since 2000. However, the ministry has only had enough money to begin modernizing transport aircraft, the TASR news wire reported.
Vanga did not specify how many new aircraft the ministry plans to buy.
The military aircraft that crashed in Hungary on January 19, killing 42 people on board, including 28 soldiers returning from the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, was an Antonov AN-24. An investigation is underway into the cause of the crash.
Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.