Balkans: October 27, 1999


Will they or won't they? A Slovenian news agency reported that NATO would build a logistics base in the Slovenian port of Koper, to help supply US troops throughout the region. The port detachment would have 15 to 20 personnel. Later the same day the Slovenian government said the report was false. Koper would be used only as a "stopping point" for supplies moving to Bosnia and Kosovo. There would be no permanent base. Slovenia, however, has repeatedly said it intends to join NATO and is actively seeking defense relationships with Western Europe and the U.S. Stay tuned.

US firms have profited from the tension between Turkey and Europe, having doubled their share of Turkey's defense procurement since 1996. However, the Turks are demanding that the US write off $500 million in previous arms sales.--Stephen V Cole

Croatia has asked to buy 12 F-16As and two F-16Bs from US Air National Guard stocks. This may mean that Croatia has abandoned a previous decision to buy Russian MiG-29s.--Stephen V Cole

Turkey has developed a new lightweight short-range air defense mount for small naval warships. The Bora (Sea Storm) system mounts four Stinger missiles (there is room to mount four more if an export customer wants them), a 12.7mm machinegun, and various optical tracking systems. The design is based on similar mounts that Turkey now uses on trucks and M113 armored personnel carriers. The system has its own on-board power and is mounted above the deck; it does not require making a large hole in the deck plates or below-decks space.--Stephen V Cole




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