Minister Gajdoš hands over upgraded tracked armoured fighting vehicles to soldiers

SVK Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš today (29 May) handed over 21 upgraded tracked armoured fighting vehicles to soldiers for operational use during a handover ceremony at the Specialist Testing Branch Lieskovec, a facility of Dubnica nad Váhom-based Konštrukta Defence. The vehicles, configured in two variants, are destined for ISTAR and mechanised units. During the ceremony, Minister Gajdoš made a symbolic handover of the vehicles to Chief of Defence Lt Gen Daniel Zmeko.
On the vehicle uplift programme, SVK Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš said: “From the very beginning, we have stated our position on the need to modernize our Armed Forces and this is a step towards delivering on our pledge. Thanks to the life extension upgrade, we have extended the life cycle of the tracked armoured fighting vehicles by another 20 years, whereas new vehicles of this type would have cost us several times more than the solution we have delivered.” He went on to explain that the upgrades for an ISTAR variant and a mechanised unit variant are worth €1.1 million and €1.5 million, respectively.

According to General Secretary of the SVK MOD Ján Hoľko, this modernization project shows how the Long-Term Defence Development Plan works in practice. “This is the outcome of our efforts – today our soldiers have received delivery of 21 upgraded vehicles. I am pleased to say that the project has been completed by our companies and our people are capable and have the relevant specialist skillset.”

CHOD Lt Gen Daniel Zmeko underlined that the military vehicles of which our troops have formally accepted delivery today will be used to shore up the existing capabilities of ISTAR Battalion Prešov, mainly those of its Reconnaissance Company. Thanks to the ISTAR package, the Recce Coy will meet the requirements for reconnaissance operations as necessitated by the stand-up of a heavy mechanised brigade. “The vehicles for mechanised units will be used to fulfil our commitments, be they towards NATOs enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltics or the stand-up of other Battlegroups,” he explained.
In this case, too, the department has demonstrated that it is committed to supporting the SVK defence industry as a priority of the current MOD leadership. The contractor for the vehicle uplift project, delivered in two stages, was Konštrukta Defence, the state-run joint stock company. Director General of Konštrukta Defence Roman Ušiak noted that the requirements of the SVK Armed Forces served as a blueprint for integrating the upgrades onto the variants. “Subsequently, we completed the prototypes and put them through military trials to validate their systems functionalities as required before launching the serial uplift programme,” he said.

Of the 21 upgraded tracked armoured fighting vehicles, 11 vehicles went to ISTAR Battalion Prešov and 10 to mechanised units. A total of 35 tracked armoured fighting vehicles will be modernized as part of this vehicle uplift project.

Author: MO SR - KOd, Photo: MO SR - KOd - Date: 29.05.2018
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