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Slovakia negotiates purchase of F-16s or Gripen fighter jets – military

Slovakia’s Defense Ministry is in talks to buy either American F-16s or Swedish Gripen fighter jets to replace its ageing Russian-made MiG-29s. The ministry said on Friday that it would submit an analysis of the two options by June 29 for government approval. Slovakia, a member of NATO, has a maintenance contract with Russia for its 12 MiG-29s until autumn 2019. That contract may need to be extended even if the government agrees to buy new jets by the end of this year, since the new jets typically take 18 to 24 months to deliver, Reuters said. Neighboring Hungary and the Czech Republic already operate Gripens, built by Saab. Poland flies F-16s, built by Lockheed Martin Corp, and may buy more.