Slovak Air Force

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Slovak Air Force
Vzdušné sily Ozbrojených síl Slovenskej republiky
Slovak Air Force logo.svg
Active 1993 − today
Country  Slovakia
Branch Slovak Armed Forces
Type air force
Role aerial warfare
Size ~3.200 personnel
28 aircraft
13 helicopters
Garrison/HQ Zvolen
Commanders
Air Force Commander Brigade general Ľubomír Svoboda[1]
Insignia
Roundel Coat of arms of Slovakia.svg Roundel of Slovakia – Low Visibility.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack L-39ZAM
Fighter MiG-29AS
Helicopter Mil Mi-17, UH-60M
Reconnaissance L-410FG
Trainer L-39CM
Transport C-27J, L-410UVP-E14/20

The Slovak Air Force, known since 2002 as the Air Force of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic (Slovak: Vzdušné Sily Ozbrojených Síl Slovenskej Republiky), is the aviation and air defense branch of the Slovak Armed Forces. Operating 23 aircraft and 10 helicopters from 3 air bases : MalackyKuchyňa, Sliač, Prešov. It succeeded the Czechoslovak Air Force together with the Czech Air Force in 1993. The Slovak Air Force is part of NATO Integrated Air Defense System – NATINADS.[2][3][4][5][6]

The Slovak Air Force is tasked with the defense of the sovereign Slovak state and the support of the nation's ground troops.[7] Eight Russian upgraded fighter aircraft MiG-29[8][9][10][11][12] together with seven modernized basic and light advanced trainers Aero L-39 dominate the inventory, followed by the seven Let L-410 and one Antonov An-26 transport aircraft.[13] The helicopter fleet consists of the ten Mil Mi-17.[14] Eight Mil Mi-24 were withdrawn from service on September 20, 2011. The Slovak Air Force has been under the command of Brigadier General Miroslav Korba since September 15, 2012.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

History[edit]

1939–1945[edit]

After the division of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany in 1939, Slovakia was left with a small air force composed primarily of Czechoslovak combat aircraft. This force defended Slovakia against Hungary in 1939, and took part in the invasion of Poland in support of Germany. During the World War II, the Slovak Air force was charged with the defense of Slovak airspace, and, after the invasion of Russia, provided air cover for Slovak forces fighting against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. While engaged on the Eastern Front, Slovakia’s obsolete biplanes were replaced with German combat aircraft, including the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The air force was sent back to Slovakia after combat fatigue and desertion had reduced the pilots' effectiveness. Slovak air units took part in the Slovak National Uprising against Germany from late August 1944.[21][22][23]

1946–1992[edit]

During this time Czechoslovakia was a member of the Eastern Bloc, allied with the Soviet Union, and from 1955 a member of the Warsaw Pact. Because of this, the Czechoslovak Air Force used Soviet aircraft, doctrines, and tactics. The types of aircraft were mostly MiGs. MiG-15, MiG-19, and MiG-21F fighters was produced in license; in the 1970s, MiG-23MF were bought, accompanied by MiG-23ML and MiG-29s in the 1980s.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the Czechoslovak Air Force consisted of the 7th Air Army, which had air defense duties, and the 10th Air Army, responsible for ground forces support.[24] The 7th Air Army had two air divisions and three fighter regiments, and the 10th Air Army had two air divisions and a total of six regiments of fighters and attack aircraft. There were also two reconnaissance regiments, two transport regiments, three training regiments, and two helicopter regiments.

In November 1989 Communism fell across Czechoslovakia. The two parliaments of the two new states from 1993, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, decided how to split the assets of the former air force. The assets were divided 2:1 in the Czechs' favor, and thus the Slovak Air Force was (re)formed. However the 20 MiG 29s were shared equally between the two countries. [25]

1993–2015[edit]

After the formal dissolution of Czechoslovakia on January 1, 1993, Czech and Slovak aircraft were divided according to each nation's population, in a ratio of nearly 2:1 in the Czech Republic's favor.[26] The exceptions to this rule were the MiG-23's, which were given exclusively to the Czech Air force, and the MiG-29's, which were divided evenly between the two nations. Slovak bases were initially under-equipped to handle the aircraft transferred from the Czech bases, and required considerable improvements in infrastructure to facilitate the new air force. On March 1, 1995, the air force replaced the Soviet style aviation regiment organization with the western wing and squadron system.[27] Around 2000–2002, Slovakia gradually retired many of the older aircraft, including the entire fleet of Su-22, Su-25, and MiG-21.[28] In 2004, the flight training academy and national aerobatic demonstration team Biele Albatrosy, both based at Košice, were disbanded.[29][30]

On January 19, 2006, the Slovak Air Force lost an Antonov An-24 in a crash.

On September 20, 2011, all of the remaining Mil Mi-24 gunships were retired.[31][32][33][34]

In January 2014, Slovakia started discussions with the Swedish Government regarding leasing or purchasing JAS-39 Gripen aircraft to replace their MiG-29 fighters.[35][36]

On April 21, 2014 Slovakia and RAC MiG signed a contract for a three years long modernization programme for the air force's MiG-29 fighters.[37][38][39][40]

On July 28, 2014 Slovakian Minister of Defence Martin Glváč[41] confirmed that the JAS-39 Gripen was selected as the new fighter aircraft for the Slovak Air Force.[42]

Structure[edit]

Slovak Air Force locations 2018:
Red pog.svg Fighter jets Pink pog.svg Helicopters Blue pog.svg Transports planes
Purple pog.svg Air Defense Missile unit Lightgreen pog.svg Command & Control Centre

Aircraft[edit]

A Slovak Air Force MiG-29
A Mi-17 of the Slovak Air Force
A retired MiG-21
A retired Mi-24

Current inventory[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-29 Russia multirole MiG-29AS/UBS 11[47][48] upgraded in 2008,[49] to be replaced by the F-16 Block 70/72
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States multirole F-16V Block 70/72 14 on order (12 Block 70, 2 Block 72)[47][50][51][52]
Reconnaissance
L-410 Turbolet Czech Republic surveillance L-410FG 1[47]
Transport
Alenia C-27J Italy transport 2[47]
L-410 Turbolet Czech Republic transport L-410UVP-E 5[47]
Helicopters
Mil Mi-17 Russia transport / utility M/LPZS 13[47]
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk United States utility UH-60M 6 3 on order[53]
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39 Czech Republic Jet trainer L-39CM/ZAM 7[47][54] assigned to the 2nd Squadron
UAV
Elbit Skylark Israel UAV I-LEX 5[55] assigned to the Ministry of Interior and 5th Regiment

Retired aircraft[edit]

Previous aircraft operated by the Air Force include the MiG-21, Sukhoi Su-22, Sukhoi Su-25, Yakovlev Yak-40, Tupolev Tu-154, Aero L-29, Antonov An-12, Antonov An-24/An-26, Mil Mi-2 and the Mil Mi-24 helicopter.[56]

Air Defense[edit]

Slovak S-300
Name Origin Type In service Notes
SAM
S-300PMU Soviet Union SAM system 1 battery One battery with 45 missiles.[57][58][59]
2K12 Kub 2M Soviet Union SAM system 5 batteries Tracked medium-range surface-to-air missile system.[57]
9K38 Igla2 Soviet Union MANPADS Man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile system.[57]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]