On Mar. 17, 2023, the Government of Slovakia approved the transfer of 13 MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Slovakia has joined Poland in making an official decision to provide Ukraine with Soviet-era MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets, the two NATO members becoming the first countries to commit to delivering tactical jets to Kyiv since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.
Slovakian Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced the news at a press conference, local media reports.
The package will also include anti-aircraft missiles of an unspecified model, the reports add.
Slovakia’s decision comes a day after Polish President Andrzej Duda announced that the first polish MiG-29s will be transferred to Ukraine within days.
Slovakia retired its fleet of 11 MiG-29s in 2022 and planned to replace them with newly-ordered Lockheed Martin F-16s in 2018.
However, the order was delayed to late 2023. In the meantime, an agreement was reached for Poland and Czechia to protect Slovakian airspace until the new aircraft arrive.
Slovakia has been saying it is ready to deliver the aircraft to Ukraine since mid-2022, however, the discussions regarding the particularities of the transfer have been ongoing ever since.
Slovak Air Force operated a fleet of 12 MiG-29 fighter jets in the Air Defense role with the 1st Fighter Squadron at Sliač Air Base.
These are going to be replaced by 14 F-16 Block 70/72 aircraft ordered in 2018. The first Vipers were supposed to arrive in the country in 2022/23 but are now scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2024.
To address the lack of fighter jets, the government of the Czech Republic approved the Slovak request for help to protect Slovak airspace.