The Vydra 8×8 IFV has been developed to replace the post-Soviet era vehicles, some of which have already reached the age of 50. On the role of the vehicle, the Ministry of Defence has never said it has been designed for the purposes of a heavy mechanised brigade. In fact, it was not until the end of 2017 that this requirement was formulated by NATO. Moreover, NATO has approved Slovakiaʼs order of sequence for armaments in which to build the heavy mechanised brigade. As the international development of the vehicle has progressed, the MOD and state-owned Konštrukta Defence a. s. have taken account of the requirements made by the most qualified people and real subject matter specialists – soldiers. If Mr Galko MP believes he is more qualified than the SVK Land Forces Commander and long-time serving personnel, then he overestimates himself. We have seen him behave like this before, when he held the post of the Minister of Defence in the years 2010 and 2011 and as the only minister he was asked by the then Prime Minister to step down already after the fall of the government.
As per valid legislation, the priority of the Armed Forces is to defend the Slovak Republic and its citizens. Given that there are plentiful waterways, rivers and streams in Slovakia and hence the operational use of the combat vehicle must reflect this eventuality, the swimming capability requirement made by soldiers is fully justifiable. The oppositional defence ʽexpertʼ, Mr Galko, tends to overlook professional arguments, such as the need for a marked reinforcement of engineer units, if the MOD had given preference to a vehicle incapable of swimming. And if Mr Galko claims that an international tender would have brought us a better vehicle, one that could swim with the ballistic protection level equal to STANAG Level 5, then he denies Archimedesʼ principle. Today there is no such 28-tonne vehicle with equal parameters, size and capabilities that can swim in the world. Nor do we understand why he prefers to give jobs to people abroad rather than Slovak citizens. If he believes that the creation of 800 jobs in the SVK defence industry, which has been in decline for years, is not enough, he can come up with his own solution and present it to the public. Otherwise, it is all empty talk and a political gamble.
The Vydra 8×8 vehicle is another cutting edge product of the SVK defence industry. Up to 16 SVK defence companies may get involved in its production. The vehicle, based on the requirements of the SVK Armed Forces, is an outcome of international R&D. Obviously, the opposition MP is sorry that he is not credited with the revival of the SVK armaments industry. Instead of envy, he should bring solutions.