European nations are levelling up manufacturing output to support themselves and their allies; especially since Ukraine’s counter-offensive began this week.
The Slovak defence minister, Martin Sklenár, hoped to assure executive managers that the government will support their defence production efforts when he visited their assembly lines in Dubnica nad Váhom on 9 June.
“Even with the backing of the Ministry of Defence, the defence firms are making additional investments in manufacturing and infrastructure upgrades,” Sklenár emphasised.
Work on the key modernisation programmes for the Slovak Armed Forces is being taken forward by DMD GROUP, a state-run holding company overseeing ZVS Holding, KONŠTRUKTA Defence, and ZTS Špeciál.
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These defence firms are currently working on three major projects: the CV90 tracked infantry fighting vehicle, the Patria wheeled armoured modular vehicle, and 155mm artillery munitions.
On artillery munitions, Sklenár stated: “It is exactly the experience of Ukraine that points to the importance of refilling artillery munitions stocks.
“Over medium and long term horizons, we, therefore, assume that our increased manufacturing capacity will be used to support the needs of the Slovak Armed Forces as well as those of Nato and the EU and the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
The UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) daily update on the Russia-Ukraine war, posted on 10 June, affirmed that Ukrainian operations have been taking place in several sectors of eastern and southern Ukraine. There have since been many reports detailing an offensive on the southern Ukrainian town of Zaporizhzhia.
The UK MoD added that the Ukrainian offensive has had a mixed effect; progress has been made in some areas while it has been slower in others.
While public opinion toward closeness with the major Western powers such as the US through Nato membership has at times fluctuated, Slovakia’s political class has repeatedly stressed that it sees its future in deepening ties with such organisations, according to GlobalData analysis of Slovakia’s military doctrine.
The country reiterates that one of the primary goals of defence co-operation and engagement with other countries is to “deepen the credibility of the Slovak Republic as a trustworthy partner who fulfils all commitments in the area of defense and security”.
The need for assurance
ZVS Holding, which produces different types of artillery rounds, would welcome a call for proposals for EU funds to extend its capacity to produce sufficient levels of artillery munitions.
“Currently, we have prepared investment projects worth roughly €30m [$32m] to boost our manufacturing capacity. We are going ahead with them, regardless of whether we get EU funding for them,” Director General of DMD GROUP Štefan Škultéty said.
Škultéty added that the positive trend is supported by figures – this year ZVS Holding is going to offer €2m ($2.15m) will be used to extend the production facilities at KONŠTRUKTA Defence and ZTS Špeciál.