THE US has offered to broker the sale of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopters to Slovakia via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) fund. Defence Minister Martin Glváč plans to inform the Security Council, Government and the Parliamentary Defence Committee about the offer by the end of January, he told the press on January 12.
“There’s an offer to purchase Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters according to requirements we’ve arrived at based on a feasibility study, the planned development of Air Force and past bilateral talks attended by experts from both countries,” Glváč said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “If purchased via the US Fund accepted in the EU, the deal would guarantee a lower price than the manufacturer would otherwise give to any other client.”
Glváč underlined that it is only an offer at this stage, with other options still on the table. New helicopters are needed to replace Soviet Mi-17s. The replacement is slated to occur within six years, with nine new machines due to be purchased in the first phase and the rest to be purchased and delivered gradually. The price for the first batch of helicopters – including training and maintenance – should not exceed €300 million.
According to Chief of the General Staff Milan Maxim, such procurement would make the Slovak army interoperable with NATO allies and enjoy lower operational costs.
“It is specifically this type of helicopter that would be fully suitable for tasks we need them for,” said Maxim, as quoted by TASR.
FMS represents a US programme, automatically available to each NATO member, via which the American Government provides procurement of military hardware and equipment to other countries.
“This allows Slovakia and other countries to buy military hardware under the same conditions enjoyed by our armed forces,” said US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick, as quoted by TASR. “Seeing as we buy large amounts, we’re receiving large discounts.”
Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
13. Jan 2015 at 11:00