Army plans significant equipment purchases this year

Ljubljana – The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) are planning significant equipment purchases this year, including a new transport aircraft, new helicopters, 8×8 armoured vehicles, cargo vehicles, communication and information systems and ground sensors, the Defence Ministry’s logistics director Uroš Korošec said on Monday.

Korošec also mentioned the purchases of ammunition, mine-clearing devices and anti-tank missiles, if the SAF expressed the need to increase stocks.

He said the purchases were not related to the current security situation in Europe, but had been planned in advance. Korošec also recalled that the agreement for the C-27J Spartan military transport aircraft with Italy was signed last year. It is due to arrive in Slovenia next year and is expected to cost around EUR 72 million.

The tender for the upgrade of the Bell 412 helicopters is currently under way. According to Korošec, the aim is to upgrade the helicopters for another 20 years. Upgrades include a digital mapping system, new wiring and other technological improvements.

Preparations are also underway for the purchase of new helicopters, based on the same design as the already-owned Cougar helicopters, with procurement procedures expected to start in the summer or autumn. The purchase of two helicopters is foreseen by 2026 and two more after that.

Korošec said that the purchase would probably be made through a government-to-government procedure or through NATO’s Support and Procurement Organisation, in order to “get rid of all intermediaries and make the purchase as transparent as possible”.

As for the planned purchase of 45 Boxer 8×8 vehicles through the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), negotiations are still ongoing and Korošec did not want to talk about the price of the vehicles yet.

The purchase still depends on the decision of the Constitutional Court, which will have to examine the Left party’s request for a referendum on this issue, he added.

The current opposition, particularly the Left, has staunchly opposed the purchase of new armoured vehicles, arguing that investments should be made in healthcare, housing or education instead.