Aerial Warfare

Slovak Minister of Defence Ambitious Plan to Strengthen Air Defense Capabilities

Second IRIS-T SLM Air Defence System Delivered to Ukraine
IRIS-T SLM Air Defence System

Slovak Minister of Defence, Martin Sklenár, has revealed Slovakia’s intention to bolster its air defense systems. The Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic are slated to receive advanced systems including very short-range (MANPADS) and mobile medium-range systems. In a statement issued by the Slovak Ministry of Defence, it was announced that the initial phase of defining the requirements for the new air defense systems has been completed, and market research has commenced to identify the most suitable solutions. Emphasizing the thoroughness and duration of the process, the ministry has allocated EUR 200 million towards this endeavor.

Minister Martin Sklenár stated, “Surface Based Air Defense is a critical capability to ensure Slovakia’s national security. We recognize the long-term necessity for a comprehensive and advanced SBAD capability. By the end of this process, we aim to have an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) system, incorporating digitally networked platforms. This system will be fully compatible with the capabilities of the Alliance, ready to safeguard European and NATO airspace. Above all, our priority lies in delivering high-quality and high-efficiency technologies that align with the requirements of the Armed Forces and other subject matter experts. We also seek to ensure transparency and promote bilateral cooperation, which will be facilitated through a government-to-government (G2G) agreement.”

Defence Ministers from 14 NATO Allies and Finland came together in Brussels on 13 October 2022 to sign a Letter of Intent for the development of a “European Sky Shield Initiative”.
Defence Ministers from 14 NATO Allies and Finland came together in Brussels on 13 October 2022 to sign a Letter of Intent for the development of a “European Sky Shield Initiative”. (Photo by SHAPE NATO)

Additionally, the Slovak Ministry of Defence has issued requests for proposals to 11 countries that are potential suppliers of air defense solutions for the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic. The deadline for responses is set for the end of July 2023. It is worth noting that Slovakia intends to procure a limited number of air defense systems. The ministry’s statement specifies the acquisition of 12 MANPADS launchers, along with a mobile system for medium-range air defense. Furthermore, Slovakia joined the German-initiated European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) in October 2022. This initiative aims to establish an integrated pan-European air and missile defense system. The number of participants including 14 Allies (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, the United Kingdom) as well as invitees Finland and Sweden.

The initiative aims to strengthen NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence by facilitating the multinational acquisition and integration of a broad range of air defence capabilities by European countries. A part of ESSI’s envisioned multinational acquisition will be conducted through a Rapid Acquisition Track within NATO’s Modular Ground-Based Air Defence High Visibility Project. Ten Allied Defence Ministers launched this effort today in parallel through signature of a Memorandum of Understanding and associated funding commitments. The program encompasses the procurement of air defense systems across various classes, with the German-produced IRIS-T SLM identified as the preferred medium-range system.

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