After more than 30 years of operational service, Slovak Air Force retires its MiG-29 Fulcrum fleet as Bratislava intends to send the MiGs to Ukraine to help Kyiv fight off Russia’s invasion.
Slovakia has a fleet of 11 MiG-29s — a mix of AS single-seaters and UBS two-seaters.
The outgoing MiG-29 fleet marked its retirement from Slovak service by conducting a final four-ship formation flight during the Slovak International Air Fest, held at Malacky-Kuchyňa Air Base from August 27-28.
This formation flight comprised four single-seat MiG-29AS Fulcrums (serials 0921; 2123; 6124 and 6627). After landing, a traditional water cannon salute was organized for MiG-29AS (serial 0921) to mark the end of Fulcrum operations in Slovakia. A fifth MiG-29AS (serial 6425) was also present in the static display.
The country signed a deal in 2018 to buy 14 F-16 Block 70 aircraft from the US. The aircraft are expected to begin arriving in 2024.
On July 3, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that the Czech Republic would send fighter jets to patrol the airspace of neighboring Slovakia.
Many have speculated in recent months about whether or not to hand over the MiG-29s to Ukraine so that it can conveniently defend itself in the face of the existing gap it has with the invading Russian forces.
Elaborating on this, Maj Martina Koval’ Kakaščíková – spokesperson for the Slovak MOD – told Key.Aero: “We have been in talks with our allies on what to do next with the grounded MiG-29 fighter jets.
The MOD will thoroughly analyze all options and make sure the outcome is advantageous and safe for the Slovak Republic and, if a deal is made, helpful to Ukraine.
No decision has been made on this issue yet. We will provide more information as soon as an update is available.”