Tag Archives: Slovak Air Force

Joint air defense over four European countries

The year 2017 will be the year that for the first time in history sees joint air defense over four European countries. Not only are Belgium and the Netherlands operating a combined Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) since 1 January 2017, starting this summer the Czech Republic and Slovakia will do the same. The latter countries today agreed on cooperation.

The joint efforts are quite remarkable in a time of increasing international tension, although the combined effort of Belgium and the Netherlands has been on the cards for quite some time already. Whereas until last year both countries each had four F-16s on constant standby, they now take turns in keeping an eye out for airliners gone astray or potential threats, thus saving costs. Being small countries, they apparently can afford slighly longer transit times for the F-16s to get close to the action.

Czechs and Slovaks

The Czechs and Slovakians also talked about joint air defense before, but mostly in light of Slovakia maybe also leasing Saab Gripen fighter jets, as does the Czech Republic. While Slovakia for now continues to operate older MiG-29 Fulcrums, both countries today still agreed to keep a watch over each other’s skies. The agreement should be officaly ratified and come into effect later this year.

Belgian replacement

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what effect the cooperation between Belgium and the Netherlands has on the former’s selection of a new fighter jet to replace the F-16. The Netherlands has already opted for the F-35 Lightning II, but Belgium is still undediced. The Belgians are looking at the F-35, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Saab gripen and Dassault Rafale.

Crash Slovak Mi-17 grounds fleet

A Slovak Air Force Mil Mi-17 (“Hip”) crashed near the village of Hradisko in the Prešov district in the east of the country on 28 July 2015, killing one crew member and wounding two others.

According to statements by the Slovak Ministry of Defence the Mi-17 took off from Presov (Prešov) at 13:30 local time for a routine training mission. Contact with the tactical transport helicopter was lost roughly half an hour later.

The crashed choppper was either a Mi-17M from 2. Transport Helicopter Squadron (2. Dopravná vrtuľníková letka) or a Mi-17LZPS (pictured above) from the 1st Training and SAR Squadron (1. Výcviková a LPZS letka). The two units make up the Helicopter Wing (Vrtuľníkové krídlo) of the Armed Forces of Slovakia and are based at Presov.

Pending an initial investigation of the crash all nine remaining Mi-17s of the Slovak Air Force are grounded. The crashed Mi-17 was produced in 1985, but had its mid-life overhaul in 2011. Any indications of why the helo crashed, which happened while landing in so-called unfamiliar terrain, have not been given.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Slovak Air Force Mil Mi-17 (Image © Marcel Burger)

Slovakia to buy Black Hawks

Slovakia is to buy nine Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, unless the US Congress vetoes it. The American parliament was notified of the planned sale earlier this week.

The eastern European country will pay 450 million for the choppers, which are the most modern version of the legendary rotary wing. Along with the agreement Slovakia purchases two spare engines, GPS / INS systems, aviation mission planning systems, other electronic systems and spare parts.

The Black Hawks will replace the Slovak Air Force’s 6 Mil Mi-17Ms in the transport role and the 4 Mi-17LZPSs in the search-and-rescue role. The small air force of the Slovakia has no other helicopters at this time. The UH-60Ms will be operated by the Helicopter Wing at Prešov in the east of the country.

Sources: US DSCA / Slovak Air Force
Featured image: Sweden was the first export customer for the UH-60M Black Hawk. Seen here in June 2012 during a tactical assault demonstration at F3 Linköping-Malmen AB (Image © Marcel Burger)

Alenia Aermacchi confirms Slovak C-27J order

A C-27J Spartan approaches a dirt strip. (Image © Saab)
A C-27J Spartan approaches a dirt strip. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

You read it first last week here on Airheadsfly.com, and today it’s confirmed by Alenia Aermacchi. On Wednesday 29 October, the Italian aircraft manufacturer and the Slovak Defence Ministry signed a contract for the supply of two C-27J Spartan aircraft, including initial logistic support plus pilot and maintenance personnel training. First delivery is expected in 2016.

The acquisition of the C-27J by the Slovak Air Force is part of the Slovak Armed Forces’ modernisation programme, of which the two new tactical transport aircraft are a first step. The contract ends years of negotiations following a bid issued by the Slovak Defence Ministry. The bid ended in 2008 with the selection of the C-27J.

Alenia Aermacchi describes  the Slovak Defence Ministry’s choice as prove that the Spartan is an ‘excellent cost-effective solution that offers the performance and capabilities of a true military transport aircraft’. According to the Italian company, the Slovak Air Force intends to increase its contribution to NATO, and the C-27J Spartan provides the means to do so.

C-27J (1)
A C-27J in all its airborne glory. (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

The C-27J Spartan is new-generation, medium battlefield airlifter that is currently selling well. The aircraft is a twin-engine, turboprop, tactical transport aircraft with state-of-the-art technology in avionics, propulsion and other onboard systems. It provides performance, operating flexibility and cost efficiency, plus interoperability with heavier airlifters.

Apart from Slovakia, the aircraft has been ordered by the air forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Rumania, Morocco U.S.A., Mexico, Australia, Peru and an undisclosed African nation, which however is widely known to be Chad. Total orders now stand at 78 airplanes.

Source: Alenia Aermacchi, with additional reporting by © 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Slovaks order C-27J Spartan

The C-27J in action (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)
The C-27J in action (Image © Alenia Aermacchi)

The government of Slovakia has confirmed it has finally decided to buy two C-27J Spartan tactical airlifters from Italian aircraft builder Alenia Aermacchi, with the contract to be signed in the last week of October. The deal is also likely to be officially announced by then. The two aircraft replace a small fleet of older Antonov An-26 transporters.

Talks about the Slovak purchase have ongoing for years. The deadly crash of a Slovak Antonov in 2008 in neighbouring Hungaria sparked a debate about replacing the old, Soviet era airlifters. The Slovak Air Force transport fleet is based at Malacky airbase, with VIP transport taking place from the capital of Bratislava.

According to Alenia Aermacchi, the C-27J Spartan is ideal for troop and materials transport, medical evacuation, paratroop and materials airdrops, search and rescue (SAR), logistic supply, humanitarian support, firefighting and civil emergency operations support. Purpose-designed kits also allow VIP transport and other missions. The combat MC-27J version is currently in development.

Slovakia should receive its first aircraft in 2016, with the second following a year later. Other C-27J operators include the United States (21, including 14 used by the US Coast Guard and 7 for the Army Special Operations Command), Italy (12), Greece (8), Romania (7), Morocco (4), Mexico (4), Bulgaria (3) and Lithuania (3). Australia ordered 10 Spartans, with the first one up for delivery next year, while Peru is up for four aircraft. with first delivery exptected next March. An African country – never publicly disclosed but known to be Chad – also ordered two Spartans.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest