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Slovakia delays decision on replacing Russian MiG-29s

Staff Writer |
Slovakia says it is postponing a decision on whether to buy U.S.-made F-16s or Swedish Gripen fighters to replace its aging fleet of Russian-made MiG-29s.

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Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini on June 20 said he wanted to delay an expected decision to "see comparable offers to eliminate any doubts. This is a serious decision worth billions of euros."

The Defense Ministry had been expected to submit an analysis of the two options by June 29 for government approval.

NATO member Slovakia has a maintenance contract with Russia for its 12 MiG-29s until at least mid-2019, in a deal worth $25 million to $80 million a year.

Russian technicians are based at a Slovak military air base as part of the deal. They would remain in place even after a deal is signed for the new jets until delivery takes place.

Total costs of the jets and maintenance have not been disclosed.

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