Slovakia’s Ministry of Defense has rejected an offer from the Swedish government on a lease agreement for Saab Gripen fighters. Under the provisions of the deal, Slovakia would have seen Stockholm lease six JAS 39Cs and two JAS 39Ds for an undisclosed price for a total of 1,200 flight hours per year. However, since elections in March saw a change of government including the Slovak National Party, the new prime minister Robert Fico has praised the capabilities of the MiG-29 aircraft.
Guess they keep the MiGs and upgrade it
Slovak Mig-29 | by hincasebastian
Slovakia stalls on Gripen lease
The Slovak Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced it is rejecting the latest offer for the lease of eight Saab Gripen fighter aircraft made by the Swedish government.
“For me it is unacceptable how the Swedes are negotiating with us from a legislative and legal perspective. The asking price is also unacceptable”, recently appointed Slovak defence minister Peter Gajdos told the Slovak-language daily SME .
The Swedish government’s latest offer was made in December 2015 to the previous Slovak government. The offer included the lease of eight Gripen fighters to Slovakia (six C model single-seaters and two D model two-seaters) for an undisclosed price for a total of 1,200 flight hours per year.
Slovakia has been looking to lease fighter aircraft after Gajdos’ predecessor, Martin Glvac, decided that the Slovak defence budget lacked funding to procure new fighter aircraft to replace five MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighters currently in service with the country’s armed forces. The Slovak MoD has a service contract with Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG to maintain the aircraft until November 2016.
Glvac maintained that only Sweden offered a workable solution for western fighters, however, he also acknowledged that the price for leasing aircraft from Sweden exceeded funding available in the MoD budget but promised to continue negotiations in the spring following general elections scheduled for March.
The March general elections, however, resulted in a new coalition government being formed with the MoD being occupied by the Slovak National Party.
Furthermore, during a recent official visit to Moscow, Slovak prime minister Robert Fico praised the capabilities of the MiG-29 aircraft.
Sources close to the Slovak MoD say this may simply be a tactic to pressure Sweden to lower the price on its bid to lease aircraft.