Therefore, Poland requested Germany’s approval
for the transaction and German government
promptly approved it. At this time, it is quite
possible that another batch of Polish Migs are
being prepared for the handover.
After the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993,
Slovak AF received nine Mig-29A (9.12) singleseaters and one Mig-20UN two-seater. As
a compensation for the trade deficit with Russia,
further 12 single-seaters and two two-seaters
were delivered from Russia to Slovakia. During
2005-2006 Aircraft Repair Facility in Trenčín
performed a partial upgrade of 10 single-seaters
to AS version and two two seaters to UBS
version. They were equipped with the western
avionics, but the armament remained the same.
As of 2006 the service of the Slovak fighter was
contracted to the Russian company RSK MIG.
And that became a hot issue in operating the
Slovak aircraft. The standard maintenance was
provided by Slovak ground personnel, but more
complicated jobs could only be performed by the
Russian civilian technicians. Their long-term
presence at the NATO airbase caused the raised
eyebrows of the Slovakia’s allies. The Russian
service was neither reliable nor financially
feasible. According to the contract at least eight
fighters were supposed to be airworthy at all
times, but this number varied around four to
five aircraft and pilots could not log the required
flight hours. In 2018 the purchase of new F-16C/D
Block 70 was approved and after their arrival
Migs were to be struck of charge.
After the Russian invasion to Ukraine the
situation became unsustainable. Therefore,
Slovakia made agreement with Czech, Polish and
later Hungarian neighbors to protect the Slovak
airspace. On September 9, 2022, after 30 years in
service, Mig-29s were officially grounded. Even
after this deadline some of them performed the
sporadic training flights. Even though the talks
about their transfer to Ukraine were going on for
a whole year this only took place in March 2023.
Officially Ukraine received 10 airplanes from
Slovakia in airworthy (repairable) conditions and
three grounded without engines for a long time as
a source of the spare parts. In reality only eight
aircraft, flying until the official grounding on
September 9, 2022, went to Ukraine. Remaining
five had been struck of charge before this date.
Donated single-seat fighter carried the following
bort numbers: 0619, 0820, 0921, 2123, 3709, 3911,
5113, 6124, 6425, 6627 and 6728. Two two-seaters
were coded 1303 and 5304.
Airframes 5113 and 0820 were not upgraded to AS
version and it is safe to say that they belonged
to three engine-less airframes stored for spare
parts. 5113 was from original Czechoslovak batch.
3709 and 3911 belonged to those as well and even
though they were upgraded to AS standard in
2018 they were beyond their airframe life and in
2019 they were struck of charge. The last of five
decommissioned aircraft was Mig-29UBS twoseater, bort number 1303 which technical life
was exhausted in the beginning of 2022. As of
the end of 2018 the second two-seater marked
5304 reached the end of its airframe resource
but some maintenance was performed on it
and it flew until September 9, 2022. In addition,
the following single-seaters Mig-29AS were
grounded: 0619, 0921, 2123 from the first Russian
batch and 6124, 6425, 6627 and 6728 from the
Before the airplanes were handed over to
Ukraine the US origin equipment (navigational,
communication aids and friend-foe identification)
had to be removed from the AS and UBS versions.
A week before the hand over the Ukrainian
technicians arrived in Sliač and brought with
them their own devices and parts which they
installed into Migs in place of those of the
western origin. On March 23, 2023, four aircraft
were flown over to Ukraine. They were 2123,
6124 and 6627 in the grey-green camouflage and
0921 sporting the digital camouflage. The Slovak
national markings on the wings and vertical tail
surfaces as well as unit markings on the engine
intakes were overpainted. Only bort numbers
were retained. The freshly painted areas can
be identified by the higher sheen. The Ukrainian
pilots flew them eastbound, towards the border.
According to the official sources these four MiGs
were immediately deployed to the Kharkiv area
defense. The remaining nine airframes were
delivered to Ukraine by ground.
Besides the fighters Slovakia also delivered fuel,
lubricants, spare parts and ground equipment
to Ukraine. AA systems 2K12 Kub (SA-6 Gainfull)
with 200 missiles were donated as well. For
the delivered fighters and rockets, Slovakia
was compensated from EU funds. At the same
time Slovakia was offered to purchase 12 Bell
AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. These aircraft
were originally manufactured for Pakistan, but
the Americans ultimately cancelled the sales.
Slovakia should receive them at one third of the
original price. It’s a compensation for Mig-29
transfer to Ukraine as well as delayed delivery
of new F-16s.
Falklands war veteran
It took more than a year to deliver fighters
from Poland and Slovakia since the talks about
it started. It’s not an isolated case though. For
example, the delivery of 14 Mi-8 helicopters from
The photograph from SIAF 2018 held at Sliač shows Mig-29AS bort number 6627. The tape
in front of the windshield indicates rather poor technical condition but in the end this
aircraft was one of those which did fly to Ukraine.
Mig-29AS bort number 0921 sporting digital camouflage is getting ready to
depart for Ukraine on March 23, 2023.
The Ukrainian armed forces published
the video featuring Mi-24 helicopters
of the Czech origin. The video contains
the older images, for example those
showing the sunflowers.
Four Slovak Mig-29AS are getting ready to depart from Sliač to Ukraine.
The aircraft bort number 6124 is in the foreground.