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03:44 PM, July 11, 2018
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F-16 fighter aircraft (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Slovakia has selected Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets over a competing bid from Saab's Gripen to replace its agein MiG-29 fleet.

Slovakia will buy 14 F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft for an estimated1.589 billion euros for 14 fighter jets, pilot training, ammunition and two-year logistical support.

"Based on thorough analyzes, we have chosen the best solution because they are modern machines that have no competition in terms of price, quality and capabilities, and what we can afford as a country," Defense Minister Peter Gajdoš said in a statement Wednesday.

The United States offer was more advantageous for the Slovak Republic in terms of all parameters, and in this regard the ministry rejected any speculation that the reason for choosing the F-16 aircraft is later delivery and thus prolongation of dependence on Russian technology. "While the treaty with the US government is ready for signature, the Swedish side insisted on the negotiation of details only after a government decision was taken. When the delivery dates of both aircraft depended on the signing of the contract,” Gajdos said.

In addition, if a Swedish offer was accepted, part of the material would have to be delivered from a third party, which would have delayed delivery.

"When considering and taking into account all parameters, the US offer was cheaper. The Defense Department compared the price, ammunition, pilot training costs and ground staff, logistics, infrastructure completion, delivery times and other operating costs up to the 2040 horizon," he added.

He also thanked both the US and the Swedish government for serious offers and negotiations.

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