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Slovakia approves deal for nine Sikorsky's UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - Slovakia
 
 
Slovakia approves deal for nine Sikorsky's UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters
 
Slovakia's Security Council and the government have approved a contract for procuring nine American Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopters for approximately 261 million US dollars (€236.7 million), Defence Ministry informed on April 29. The ministry stated that the helicopters fully meet the needs of the armed forces. The first Black Hawk could be delivered next year.
     
Slovakia's Security Council and the government have approved a contract for procuring nine American Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopters for approximately 261 million US dollars (€236.7 million), Defence Ministry informed on April 29. The ministry stated that the helicopters fully meet the needs of the armed forces. The first Black Hawk could be delivered next year.
Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk medium size utility helicopter
     
“I have to say that I’m happier today than I’ve been for some time,” Defence Minister Martin Glvác said in response to the Security Council’s approval. “Two years ago we had an ambition that is now becoming a reality,” he added according to the TASR newswire.

Slovakia is not only buying helicopters – at the US Army price – but also acquiring all strategic elements including ground personnel, training, logistics and maintenance. Glvác deems the procurement process fully transparent. According to him, 261 million dollars is not necessarily the final price. “We’ll try to optimise some items, to make the price even lower,” he added.

The Defence Ministry is interested in the possibility of the new helicopters leading to a new training facility in Slovakia where personnel from other countries, including Austria, Croatia and Sweden, could also train. “We’re already seeking training activities with partners that possess these helicopters,” said Milan Maxim, chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces.

Delivery of the UH-60M Black Hawk choppers is expected between 2016 and 2019, Slovak Defence Minister Martin Glvac told reporters.

The new helicopters will replace the currently used Russian Mi-17s, which have come to the end of their technical lives. The new helicopters are multifunctional, according to Air Force Commander Miroslav Korba. Glvác announced that training will now begin.

The purchase of the Black Hawks will strengthen the partnership between Slovakia and the United States, US Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick said as quoted by TASR. He added that the agreement between the two governments is completely transparent.