SLOVENIA IS evaluating an Israeli offer to sell it eight to ten Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir fighter aircraft as part of an effort to become the Balkan country's main defence-systems supplier.

Israel is providing assistance to Slovenia to define its defence requirements with a study covering land and air-force requirements to protect the small country, which split from Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Sources in Israel say that Slovenia intends to spend some $1 billion acquiring equipment.

The Slovenian air arm operates a small number of helicopters and it is expected that a big part of the defence budget will be earmarked for the purchase of combat aircraft. The Slovenian requirement also covers the acquisition of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons. The Rafael Python, 3 and possibly the Python 4, infra-red-guided missiles, along with laser-guided bombs and laser-designator pod, could form part of the Israeli offering. The Kfir aircraft on offer have been phased out of the Israeli air force inventory.

The Slovenian army has already signed a $50 million contract to purchase a tactical communication system which is manufactured by Israel's Tadiran.

Source: Flight International