Slovak Air Force
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 : Malacky – Kuchyňa, 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.
|Slovak Air Force|
|Vzdušné sily Ozbrojených síl Slovenskej republiky|
|Founded||1 January 1993|
|Size||Approx 3,200 personnel |
|Part of||Slovak Armed Forces|
|Air Force Commander||Brigade General Robert Tóth|
|Helicopter||Mil Mi-17, UH-60M|
The Slovak Air Force is tasked with the defense of the sovereign Slovak state and the support of the nation's ground troops. Eight Russian upgraded fighter aircraft MiG-29 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. The helicopter fleet consists of the ten Mil Mi-17. Eight Mil Mi-24 were withdrawn from service on September 20, 2011.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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. Around 2000–2002, Slovakia gradually retired many of the older aircraft, including the entire fleet of Su-22, Su-25, and MiG-21. In 2004, the flight training academy and national aerobatic demonstration team Biele Albatrosy, both based at Košice, were disbanded.
On September 20, 2011, all of the remaining Mil Mi-24 gunships were retired.
On December 12, 2018, Slovakia signed a contract to acquire 14 F-16 Block 70/72. All are to be delivered by the end of 2023.
- Air Force Command, in Zvolen
- Transport Wing "General Milan Rastislav Štefánik", at Malacky Air Base
- Tactical Wing "Major General Otto Smik", at Sliač Air Base
- Helicopter Wing "Lieutenant General Ján Ambruš", at Prešov Air Base
- Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade "Tobruk", in Nitra
- Control of Air Operations Brigade, in Zvolen
|MiG-29||Russia||multirole||MiG-29AS/UBS||12||aircraft were upgraded in 2008|
|F-16 Fighting Falcon||United States||multirole||F-16V||14 on order – two used for training|
|L-410 Turbolet||Czech Republic||surveillance||L-410FG||1|
|L-410 Turbolet||Czech Republic||transport||L-410UVP-E||5|
|Mil Mi-17||Russia||transport / utility||M/LPZS||13|
|Sikorsky UH-60||United States||utility||UH-60M||9|
|Aero L-39||Czech Republic||jet trainer||L-39CM/ZAM||7||assigned to the 2nd Squadron.|
|Elbit Skylark||Israel||UAV||I-LEX||5||assigned to the Ministry of Interior and 5th Regiment.|
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.
|S-300PMU||Soviet Union||SAM system||1 battery||One battery with 45 missiles.|
|2K12 Kub 2M||Soviet Union||SAM system||5 batteries||Tracked medium-range surface-to-air missile system.|
|9K38 Igla2||Soviet Union||MANPADS||Man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile system.|
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