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Military to spend Sk2 billion on aircraft

THE SLOVAK military is planning to replace its four Russian-built Antonov aircraft in order to comply with its pledge to NATO and the EU to introduce a higher-performance transport fleet by 2010, the Pravda daily reported on January 22.

In a tender announced back in December 2005, the military is looking for a supplier of three new aircraft worth more than Sk2 billion (€58 million). The three companies that have joined the bidding - the American Lockheed Martin, the Italian Alenia, and CASA - presented their respective models to the country's top military officers in May 2006.

Slovakia's Defence Ministry is now in talks with the aircraft manufacturers.

"Negotiations are now in full swing and we might make our final decision early this year," said Defence Minister František Kašický.

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