Acquisition of New 3D radars for the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic One Step Closer Again
More than a month ago, the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic informed the public about receiving offers for new 3D radars from ten countries. During October, all accepted offers were evaluated by a team of experts from the Ministry. In early November, the Ministry said it would continue further negotiations with five countries.
Picture: At present, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, specifically the Air Force Control Brigade, mainly use Soviet-made radars. It is most often the type of P-37MSK 3D radar. (pictured Soviet radar P-37) | army.cz
Ministry of Defence spokeswoman Martina Kovaľ Kakaščíková gave a statement that the Ministry will negotiate the supply of new 3D radars with five selected countries - France, Israel, Hungary, the United States and the United Kingdom. According to MSc Jozef Zekucia, General Manager of the Modernization Section at the Ministry of Defence and National Director for Armaments, a team of experts from the Ministry of Defence evaluated ten offers in the scope of the submitted information. For example, the technical parameters of the offers were assessed on the basis of the requirements of the Slovak army and compatibility with NATO systems. An important aspect in the assessment of offers was the degree of involvement of the Slovak defence industry and the expected price of radars. Based on the evaluation of the previous information, the MoD approached the five above-mentioned countries with a request for the submission of additional information, which will then be assessed by the project team. The project team will then give the analysed offers to the Minister of Defence Jaroslav Naď in the order from the most advantageous to the least advantageous offer. Subsequently, the material will be presented to the Slovak government, which by its decision will provide the Minister of Defence with a mandate to negotiate with the selected country.
The replacement of 3D radars of close, small and medium range is one of the priority projects of the Slovak Army. The strategic document from 2016 “White Paper on the Defence of the Slovak Republic” envisages the process of replacing obsolete 3D radars within both stages of the development of the armed forces. Within the first stage, which is scheduled for the period 2016-2020, the aim is to start the replacement of old radars with new radars of close, small and medium range, and in the years 2021-2030 (period of the second stage) the replacement is expected to be completed. Unfortunately, it seems that the project’s goal will not be completed in the first phase, i.e. by the end of 2020. The effort to replace the Soviet P-37 radars dates back to 2015, but so far no leadership of the Ministry of Defence has been able to move the project to the next phase. The Air Force deserves the replacement of old technology, and if the Slovak army is to be able to face current threats and be a modern army in the technological sense, further delay in the implementation of such an important project as 3D radars are would undoubtedly have a negative impact on military development.
An important requirement in the modernization project is the degree of involvement of the domestic defence industry. After the accession of Jaroslav Naď to the head of the Ministry, the competition criteria were adjusted so that the involvement of the domestic defence industry increased from the original five to twenty percent. Especially in the post-covid period, it will be important to involve as many local companies as possible in such large contracts, under which the acquisition of new radars for approximately 155 million euros undoubtedly falls. The degree of cooperation will also depend on the specific supplier. In this respect, one can only speculate about who could become a supplier and which company it will be. For example, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which manufactures ELM 2084 radars, might stand a chance. This type of radar will be delivered to the Czech Republic in the coming years, which could be an interesting solution for Slovakia in terms of compatibility. Of course, it is not possible to forget BAE Systems, which, for example, has already offered Commander SL and Giraffe AMB radars in cooperation with Saab in a previous tender. Thales (with Ground Master radars) and Raytheon from the USA are also part of the competition. It will be important to carefully consider all offers from potential suppliers and to improve the defence of the Slovak Republic with the right choice.