Slovak government clashes over largest-ever arms purchase
Slovakia's prime minister clashed with the defence ministry on 30 November over a deal to acquire US-made F-16 jets in what is slated as the NATO member's biggest military purchase.
The defence ministry announced that it had concluded three agreements to buy 14 Lockheed Martin-made aircraft plus arms and training valued at €1.58 billion ($1.8 billion).
Hours later, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini issued a statement saying that the contracts were invalid because they had not been approved by the finance ministry.
‘Premier Pellegrini considers the contracts regarding the purchase of F-16 fighters signed earlier in the day by the defence ministry to be invalid for the moment, as the finance ministry still hasn't approved the deal,’ a statement said.
The defence ministry is headed by Peter Gajdos from the hard-right Slovak National Party, a junior coalition partner to Pellegrini's populist left SD-Smer Social Democracy.
Analysts suggested Friday that the clash was likely rooted in an internal power struggle within the coalition.
A former communist NATO and eurozone member of 5.4 million people, Slovakia is seeking to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-designed, Russian made MiG-29 fighter jets.
The US State Department approved the F-16 deal in April. Pellegrini's government had formally decided in July to go ahead with the purchase.
Podcast: Riding in the Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle, and the US Navy’s response to the cyber threat
Welcome to Episode 18 of The Weekly Defence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more. Sign up to an early email alert of future podcasts here.
If you are looking for exclusive defence and aerospace news why not try our Premium News service for free? Click HereIndia said the world's fastest cruise ...
With increased military activity in the Baltic Sea and Russia’s aggression in the air and on the ground, it is hardly surprising Sweden is looking ...
US fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska, and shadowed them until they exited the area, the North American Air ...
Whilst Saab's Swedish production line can manufacture 24 Gripen aircraft per annum, the company is open to sharing technology know-how with allies looking to acquire the ...
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 18 May said Turkey and Russia would jointly produce S-500 defence systems after Ankara's controversial purchase of the S-400 ...