Slovakia to buy 14 US-made F-16 jet fighters
The Slovak government announced on 11 July that it had approved the purchase of 14 US-made F-16 Block 70/72 jet fighters, amid US criticism that NATO members in Europe do not spend enough on defence.
Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said the contract was worth nearly $1.9 billion and included training, ammunition and logistics.
The F-16s are to replace obsolete Russian Mig-29s.
Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos said in a statement on his ministry's website: ‘These are top-quality, modern planes, unrivalled in terms of price, quality and compliance, and in terms of what we can afford as a country.’
The cabinet preferred the F-16s over Swedish-made JAS-39 Gripens.
Gajdos said the deal with the US government was ready for signature, while Sweden wanted to discuss the details only after the government had made the decision.
US President Donald Trump has slammed European allies for not increasing their military budgets, raising tensions at a NATO summit under way in Brussels on 11 July.