NEWS BRIEFS

US to spend $1 million to modernise Slovak air base

The United States armed forces will invest more than $1 million to modernise the south-eastern Slovak air force training area in Kuchyňa. Slovak companies have already begun the renovations under the guidance of U.S. and German experts, the Slovak Defence Ministry Press Department director said July 19.

The project is the result of a February 9 memorandum between Slovakia and the United States which gave the US Air Force in Europe the right to use the training facilities of the 33rd Slovak Air Force Base in Kuchyňa in exchange for improvements to the site..

Several groups of U.S. experts have visited the training area over the past few months to find out what adjustments were necessary. The improvements will aid the cash-strapped Slovak air force, traditionally the most respected branch of the Slovak armed services.

US General John P. Jumper said that the exact date of arrival of the first air force group to the base has not yet been set. Six two-week training missions are planned annually, he said, primarily involving F-15 and F-16 fighter jets. The number of jets would vary from six to twelve, with a projected maximum of about 200 U.S. soldiers to be on the ground here.

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