Slovakia is leaning towards the purchase of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters after receiving promises from the US government over support for the acquisition.

Martin Glváč, the Slovak defence minister, speaking during a press conference following a meeting with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel, said that new rotorcraft could be acquired through the Foreign Military Sales mechanism.

Glváč says the helicopters would arrive gradually, but the first two examples could potentially be delivered by year-end.

Pilot and technician training along with spare parts and support would also form part of the package, he says.

No details are available on whether they would be new-build helicopters or ex-US Army examples, but an industry source suggests that a requirement exists for nine aircraft.

Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database records the Slovakian air force as operating a fleet of three Mil Mi-2 and 14 Mi-8 helicopters.

Meanwhile, Sikorsky's European rival AgustaWestland says it is "ready to make an offer to Slovakia" based on its AW139, and "is also ready to enter talks to cooperate with local industry".