Purchase of F-16 aircraft

The most expensive purchase of military equipment in the history of the Slovak Republic




Strategic planning

  • At the time of the government’s approval of the F-16 purchase, the basic strategic defence documents had not been updated in the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
  • The purchase of 14 F-16 fighter jets exceeds the requirements of the NATO Capability Targets 2017 and drains resources from the implementation of the delayed heavy infantry brigade project.

Eligibility of the purchase

  • In Slovakia, the most expensive defence contract since the establishment of the Slovak Republic has not been approved by the Parliament, unlike for example Bulgaria (in the same period for the same type of fighter jets).
  • The Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic has not proved the eligibility for the purchase of all 14 F-16 C / D Block 70 fighter jets.
  • The set target for the total annual number of flight hours is at the level of less than 50% of the purchased capacity.
  • The Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic has not demonstrated the lower operating costs of the F-16 fighter jets compared to JAS-39 Gripen.
  • Some other options were not considered before procurement, such as airspace protection through NATINAMDS or the purchase of the 5th generation fighter jets.


  • The selected option of tactical airforce renewal may not have been the most effective solution, as value for money was not assessed for all other options.
  • If offsets were required during the purchase (for example direct investments in the arms industry, securing subcontracting relations for own arms industry, etc.), the Slovak economy could be supported by an amount up to the purchase price of the fighter jets, i. e. 1.9 billion EUR.
  • The total price of operating the F-16 fighter jets for the period from the 3rd to 10th year is projected at 720 USD million (excl. VAT). The price is not final.
  • The total price for the fighter jets, training, ammunition, two years of operation and the estimated costs for the next eight years of operation of 14 F-16 fighter jets is 2.6 billion EUR (incl. VAT).
  • The total cost of procuring F-16 fighter jets and their subsequent operation over 30 years is estimated at 5 billion EUR (incl. VAT) or 6.2 billion EUR over 40 years.


The full text of the analysis about this issue in Slovak language is available here (pdf, 1 MB).