P. Gajdoš: We insist on the need to increase Service pay and a systemic modernization of armed forces

The historically most extensive real modernization of the Slovak Armed Forces, the provision of clothing items for soldiers, and higher Service pay are the results of the more-than-three-year-long endeavours by the current Ministry of Defence leadership. At a press conference at the MOD today (6 September 2019), Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš and General Secretary of the SVK Ministry of Defence Ján Hoľko began to review how well the 2030 Long-Term Defence Development Plan is being fulfilled.

On the modernization programmes, Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš made the point that the MOD proceeds in line with the Long-Term Defence Development Plan, while stressing that “if the modernization of armed forces is to be meaningful, it must be implemented systemically. And that’s what we are doing.”

As General Secretary Ján Hoľko explained, one of the major modernization programmes in the Armed Forces is the Vydra 8x8 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) project, which is to be addressed by the Security Council and the Cabinet. General Secretary Hoľko said:“Today, we have the vehicle prototype which the Armed Forces presented, among others, at the ceremonial military parade in Banská Bystrica. In case members of the Cabinet identify themselves with the project, the procurement costs of a single serially manufactured vehicle will not exceed 4 million euros, VAT included, which comes at a significantly lower price than that of the other vehicles of this type procured by the neighbouring countries.”

Purchases of 2 Spartan airlifters, 6 Black Hawk helicopters (plus 3 are to be delivered this year), 25 Zuzana II Self-propelled Gun Howitzers, Polaris and Tatra vehicles, the strategic replacement of the SVK Air Force’s fighter fleet by U.S. F-16 fighter jets, and the research and development (R&D) of the Vydra 8x8 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) prototype are clear examples of the current MOD leadership’s efforts to modernise the Armed Forces. Work on the international tender for 4x4 vehicles is in progress too, and so is on the projects to upgrade T-72 main battle tanks and heavy tracked combat vehicles.

On the proposed increase in Service pay for active duty soldiers, Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš underlined that, except for the pay indexation arrangements thus far, Service pay has not gone up since 2006, i.e. for over 13 years. At the same time, he explained that the pay increase is systemic and will be deliverable through the Active Duty Soldiers State Service Amendment Act. He reminded that all the other law enforcement and security agencies have their own legislation and can effect similar changes. “I believe we will rally support for higher Service pay across the political spectrum in Parliament and that no one will seek personal political gains out of this,” he added.

Also at the press conference, Head of the MOD strictly objected to the lies being spread about soldiers having shortages of clothing items. “Since March 2016 we have invested 40 million euros in the clothing items for soldiers,” said the Minister, adding that the MOD has also taken measures to stop the misuse of Service uniforms and illegal trading in them, which was often the practice before.

Author: MO SR - KOd, Photo: MO SR - Pavol Vitko - Date: 06.09.2019
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