Forces: October 10, 2002

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The Slovene Army (JNA) is reorganizing for the 21st century and, by 2005 will reduce it's ranks from the present 40,000 to 19,520. The program also includes a change in the organization and a decrease of military locations, as an attempt to get into line with NATO standards.

When Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia in the summer of 1991, the JNA had about 22,300 troops with 115 tanks, 82 APCs and 24 helicopters inside the new country. During the 72 battles fought in that short war, 31 tanks, 22 armored vehicles and 6 helicopters were either destroyed or damaged. The Slovene army had 16,000 soldiers at the start, soon expanded to 35,200.

Part of getting in tune with NATO is dumping ineffective weapons systems. Until 2001, the Slovene Army had four armor battalions (at Maribor, Cerklje ob Krki army airport, Vrhnika and Pivka) equipped with former JLA [Yugoslav People's Army] tanks. The Maribor and Pivka battalions had ancient Soviet-made T-55s, while those in Vrhnika and Cerklje ob Krki had the more modern Yugoslavian-made M-84s. At the end of 2001, the Slovenes decided to disband two tank battalions. Vrhnika's M-84s were then transferred to Pivka, while the Pivka T-55s were decommissioned. 

On 1 October 2002, the Slovene Army mustered the 45th Armored Battalion for the first time in Pivka. Formed from the tank battalions at Vrhnika and Pivka, this unit is actually Vrhnika's 54th Armored Battalion reflagged. This move leaves only two tank battalions in Slovenia and the fate of Slovenian armor units after 2015 is unknown, although there has been talk of reconditioning the M-84s.

A Slovene tank battalion has 40 tanks and 13 armored personnel carriers. According to the new commander, Major Frederik Skanlec, only one tank company would be actively training, while the other two and the mechanized unit would be in the reserves. - Adam Geibel

 


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