The four MiG-29 Fulcrum jets have been handed over to the Ukrainian Air Force.
First four of 13 MiG-29 fighters retired from active service by the Slovak Air Force have be transferred to Ukraine on Mar. 23, 2023. The aircraft were flown from Sliač Air Base by Ukrainian Air Force pilots who had arrived in Slovakia to pick them up together with mechanics, who serviced the jets before departure.
First 4 Slovak #MiG29s handed over to #Ukraine. May they save many #lives and help Ukraine defend its land and infrastructure against Putin’s aggression! Our support will continue as long as needed. @oleksiireznikov @Slovakia_NATO @DefenceU @NATO @ZelenskyyUa #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/IvPb2jJ247
— Jaro Nad (@JaroNad) March 23, 2023
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced on Mar. 17, 2023, that the Government of Slovakia approved the transfer of 13 MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine. It’s not clear how many aircraft will eventually be delivered, considered that less than a dozen were airworthy when the type was retired in August last year: most probably at least a couple of airframes will be delivered along with the aircraft in flying conditions to be cannibilized for spare parts.
Anyway, according to the Slovak media outlets, the remaining jets will be probably delivered to Ukraine by land. Interestingly, all the national markings and insignia have been cancelled.
Dealing with the ex-Slovak Air Force MiG-29, the Fulcrums arrived to Sliač Air Base in December 1992. Just a few days later, on Jan. 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, resulting in the disbandment of the Czechoslovak Army and the creation of the Army of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Armed Forces.
Over the next two years the unit based at Sliač changed its designation from 1st Fighter Squadron (1 Stíhacia Letka) to being renamed in early 1995 as 311 Stíhacia Letka (1st Squadron of the 31st Fighter Wing) and finally in October 2001 to 1st Stíhacia Letca of Stíhacie Letecke Krídlo (Fighter Wing). The unit operated the MiG-29s in the air defense role until the end of August 2022, when they were retired.
As already explained the Ukrainian pilots don’t need any additional training to fly these donated MiG-29s, considering the Fulcrums are already being used by the Ukrainian Air Force in various roles, including the SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses), thanks to the integration of the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile).
The Slovak MiG-29s will be joined by other Fulcrums donated by Poland that should be delivered in the next few weeks. North Macedonia, that has confirmed the donation of four Su-25s to Ukraine that took place some time in 2022 is reportedly considering the possibility of transferring a dozen Mi-24 helicopters too. Ukraine has also sent an official request to Finland for the supply of F/A-18 Hornets of the Finnish Air Force. However, it looks like the Finnish MOD has already made it clear it does not want to donate Hornet fighter jets to Ukraine because, as the Ministry Antti Kaikkonen said “we need these Hornets to secure our own country”.