After his meeting with minister of defense Mariusz Błaszczak in Warsaw, Slovakian minister of national defense Jaroslav Nad declared that the relations between Poland and Slovakia are excellent and new initiatives are deepening cooperation.
Błaszczak said that Poland and Slovakia were building a defense system which would guarantee security to not only the two countries, but the entire NATO Eastern flank.
He mentioned the signing of a new agreement concerning cooperation of the air forces of the two countries on key issues, which include exercises, training and anti-aircraft defense. The agreement also opens the possibility for mutual use of airports and functioning as part of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense System.
The importance of this is that Slovakia will soon become a user of fourteen of the newest F-16 fighters, which will replace old Soviet-era MiG-29s. Slovakia will surely appreciate Polish experience with transitioning to the new aircrafts. Joint training will create synergy between the two air forces. This new cooperation will also most likely mean that Slovakia will participate more often in the rotational NATO Air Policing mission.
The Slovakian defense minister Jaroslav Nad also went to Bydgoszcz, where the Polish Military Aviation Plants number 2 are located. These plants possess certain competencies for supporting the exploitation of F-16s. This is crucial to Bratislava, especially since they will possess a very small fleet of F-16s in 2024.
Poland and Slovakia also currently possess post-Soviet anti-aircraft missile defense systems and are in need of replacing them with more modern ones. Joint work on this issue between the two countries would not only improve coherence within the defense system in our region, it would also increase its scale, if a short-distance defense system were purchased.
Although no concrete declarations were made concerning these defense systems, it is likely that they are contained within the agreement’s framework.
The context of Nad’s visit is also important. Starting July, Poland took over the V4 presidency. One of the priorities of the V4 currently is cooperation in terms of exchanging experiences in combating the pandemic. Works on creating the EU battlegroup are also underway, and its first shift is planned for 2023. Nad was also Błaszczak’s first foreign visitor since the outbreak of the epidemic.