12 pilots will go on F-16 training

Sliač airport will meanwhile get a makeover since it will house F-16 jets.

This archive picture from 2014 shows an older model of the F-16 fighter jets. This archive picture from 2014 shows an older model of the F-16 fighter jets. (Source: TASR)

Slovakia's armed forces have chosen the first 12 candidates to undergo a training for pilots of the F-16 fighter jets.

The first six have already finished their training in Slovakia and will travel to the United States this autumn to undergo the second part, the TASR newswire wrote.

The remaining six are currently undergoing national training, which will end in 2020, the Defence Ministry spokesperson Danka Capáková informed.

The armed forces are planning on employing 22 F-16 pilots as it is agreed in the contract.

Airport gets makeover

The Defence Ministry meanwhile allocated money to reconstruct Sliač airport (Banská Bystrica Region), the Hospodárske Noviny daily reported.

The project, submitted to the government with a recommendation to approve it, proposes to allocate €55 million for the purpose. The reason is that the F-16 jets bought by the ministry will be placed at the airport.

The decision comes shortly after the Defence Ministry rejected a €105 million investment from the USA to modernise two of its military airports back in March.

Read alsoThe Defence Ministry ends talks on US investment in airports Read more 

“A failure to make the minimum changes recommended by the aeronautical supplier would result in a restriction of the operation of the new aeronautical equipment and would not ensure compliance with the warranty conditions,” the Defence Ministry said, as quoted by the ČTK newswire.

The modernisation, split into three parts, should be completed by the time the 14 US F-16 jets arrive in Slovakia in 2022 and 2023.

No alternative

Read alsoDanko rejects US money for Slovak army Read more 

What happens if the government does not approve the project is not known, as the Defence Ministry has not proposed any alternative plan. This would lead to a breach of the terms.

“If the supplier tells them each of the new jets must be housed in its own heated and isolated hangar, they must do so,” Institute for Transport and Economy analyst and pilot Peter Kunkela said, as quoted by Hospodárske Noviny.

The Sliač airport was reconstructed in the past with NATO's financial aid, as well.

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