Jaroslav Naď, Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic, has denied the reports that Slovakia has already handed over MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets to Ukraine.
Jaroslav Naď (quoted in European Pravda) said on Facebook;
“Our MiG-29 fighters are not in Ukraine. This is false information. They are still at Sliač [military airfield in Slovakia – ed.]. They will protect our airspace until late August, and then you will be able to see them at SIAF [Slovak International Air Festival – ed.] on 27 August, where we will officially bid them farewell.
“We are negotiating with our allies and partners regarding what to do with them next. No decision has been made yet. We will let you know when that changes.”
In early July, Eduard Heger, Prime Minister of Slovakia, said that his country might be able to send its MiG-29 fighter jets and Soviet-made tanks to Ukraine, but refused to discuss the details at the time.
Western nations have increasingly started supplying weapons but earlier discussions on providing MiG-29s – which are also used by Poland and Bulgaria – were halted because those plans were perceived as too risky in increasing tensions between Russia and NATO.
Slovakia, a NATO member and Ukraine’s neighbor, operates a fleet of 12 MiG-29 fighter jets.
The Slovak Air Force ordered 14 F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft as replacement for their MiG-29AS fleet in 2018. The Slovak Fulcrums are expected to be grounded since this summer, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused logistical problems with the maintenance of the aircraft (which had been provided by Russian technicians). But the COVID-19 pandemic caused problems with production of Slovak Vipers: in fact, the first aircraft that were supposed to arrive in the country in 2022/23 are now slated to be delivered in the first half of 2024. It’s expected that the Slovak F-16s will be ready to serve the national QRA in 2025.
As we have already reported, on Jun. 27, 2022 the government of the Czech Republic has approved the Slovak request with help over guarding the Slovakian air space.
The Czech Air Force will guard the air space of its eastern neighbor with Polish Air Force, which approved the air policing mission earlier this year in April.
The air patrolling over Slovakia is supposed to start at September this year and last until the end of 2023; however, due to the delivery problems with F-16 to Slovakia the mission might be prolonged until the end of 2024.
Photo credit: Łukasz Golowanow via Wikipedia
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