Prague - The Czech air force is prepared to protect the Slovak airspace if Slovakia does not buy new fighter planes before its present contract with Russia expires, the Czech and Slovak chiefs of staff, Petr Pavel and Milan Maxim, told reporters after their meeting today.
Náčelník generálního štábu Petr Pavel 3. března v Komárově na Berounsku na tiskové konferenci k návštěvě ministra obrany Martina Stropnického ve vojenském újezdu Brdy. ČTK Eret Petr
Slovaks now use outdated Russian-made MiG-29 fighters.
The Czech military is able to provide four Gripen supersonic fighters for four months to protect the Slovak airspace and then other NATO member states would participate in the mission, Pavel told reporters.
Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia are NATO member states.
The Czech and Swedish defence ministries recently signed an addendum to the contract on the lease of 14 Gripens for the Czech military that extends the lease until 2027 for 21.4 billion crowns with a two-year option. The original contract expires in April 2015.
The Slovak contract with Russia on the lease of MiG-29s will expire in two years.
If Slovakia did not acquire new fighters by then, other NATO member states would help protect the Slovak airspace within air policing. Maxim confirmed it.
Within the air policing programme, Czech fighter pilots have participated in the protection of the Baltic countries.
Similar to the Czech Republic, Slovaks plan to lease fighter planes to protect its airspace.
Pavel and Maxim today agreed that if Bratislava bought a similar fighter type as Prague, both countries´ air forces would be able to cooperate, for instance, in logistics.
The Slovak military has also expressed interest in supplies of firearms from a Czech producer.
Slovak soldiers now use the outdated the type 58 automatic rifles. This is why they are considering purchasing the Czech-made BREN assault rifles produced by the armament factory in Uhersky Brod, south Moravia.
"On the one hand, [we would buy the rifles] to be compatible and on the other hand, because we admit that this is a very good firearm," Maxim told reporters.
Slovak troops have already tested the rifle, he added.
The daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) has written that the Slovak General Military Staff is also interested in the Czech-made CZ 75 pistols and Scorpion submachine guns.
The Uherske Hradiste arms maker continues providing supplies to rearm the Czech military. However, it assured Czech and Slovak military representatives that it would be able to meet demands from both countries.