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US Air Force to use Malacký air base for training

Slovak Deputy Defense Minister Jozef Pivarči and the commander of the US Air Force in Europe, General John P. Jumper, signed a memorandum between Slovakia and the United States on February 9 enabling the use of training facilities of the 33rd Air Force Base in Malacky, Slovakia, by the US Air Force in Europe.

Pivarči stressed that the memorandum confirms the orientation of Slovakia's foreign policy and its ambition to join NATO.

General Jumper said that the exact date of arrival of the first US Air Force group has not been set so far. He added that six two-week missions are planned annually. F-15 and F-16 fighter jets will likely be used in training. The number of jets would vary between six to twelve, and in the latter case would involve about 200 US soldiers.

The United States also plans to invite Slovak pilots and technicians to their bases in Europe, and expect to hold flights with mixed crews, General Jumper added.

Pivarči said he believed that cooperation with the US would bring about an improvement in air force training in the Slovak Army. He added that the United States would finance the construction of buildings and facilities on the Malacký air base, facilities that are to be used not only for the training of US pilots but also for Slovak ones.

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