Slovak Army can buy JLTV multi-purpose tactical vehicles from the USA
After several years of waiting, the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic (AF SR) will receive new 4x4 multi-purpose tactical vehicles. The US Department of State has approved Slovakia's request to purchase 192 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), for which Slovakia will pay nearly $250 million.
The acquisition of the new 4x4 multi-purpose tactical vehicles was planned by the previous leadership of the Slovak Ministry of Defence in 2017. Under the leadership of the then minister Petr Gajdoš, the Slovak Ministry of Defence had planned to purchase a total of 404 4x4 multi-purpose combat vehicles for the needs of mechanised battalions, motorised battalions, artillery units, ISTAR battalions and other units for about 783 million euros.
The Ministry of Defence considered several options in relation to the acquisition of new multi-purpose tactical vehicles. In addition to a public tender, the development of its own 4x4 fighting vehicle was also considered, as was the development of an 8x8 armoured fighting vehicle. In the end, the Ministry of Defence opted for a public tender procedure. However, from the outset, the planned purchase of new 4x4 multirole combat vehicles raised controversy and doubts. These concerned, for example, the price per 4x4 multi-purpose tactical vehicle, with the Ministry setting a unit price of between EUR 1 and 2,9 million. This was many times more than the price at which the German army, for example, bought vehicles in the same category. Another problem was the suspicion that the requirements for new vehicles were designed to best suit the Zetor Gerlach. At the time, opposition MP Jaroslav Nad stated that potential suppliers of the vehicles had less than a month to submit bids to the ministry and therefore there was a suspicion that the tender was tailored to one supplier in advance. The Slovak Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) has also expressed suspicions about the lack of transparency in the 2019 tender. According to the office's findings, the parameters of the tender were set in favour of the Zetor Gerlach vehicle, which is why the ÚVO has proposed cancelling the entire tender. The cancellation of the tender then took place in May 2020, at the suggestion of the new Minister of Defence Jaroslav Nada.
The solution comes from the USA
Since May 2020, when the tender for multi-purpose tactical vehicles was cancelled by the now former Minister of Defence Jaroslav Nad, there has been no change in the purchase of this type of equipment. This changed only recently, when Slovakia received approved military aid of $200 million from the United States. Slovakia can use these funds to purchase US military equipment and weapons. In addition to JLTVs, Slovakia has expressed interest in M4 assault rifles.
According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the potential sale of 192 JLTVs has been approved by the US side and the total cost of the vehicles, including the corresponding equipment and service, will reach USD 250 million. The equipment will include, for example, remotely operated weapon stations CROWS, chemical detectors M4A1, and 40mm grenade launchers MK19. According to the DSCA, the supplier of the vehicles and related technologies is to be Oshkosh Corporation. According to the DSCA press release, the JLTVs will significantly enhance the Slovak Army's ability to counter current and future threats, contribute significantly to the mobility and protection of ground troops, and enable the retirement of Soviet-era equipment.