Slovak Air Force
|Slovak Air Force|
Slovak Air Force emblem
|Air Force Commander||Major General Miroslav Korba|
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. It operates 24 aircraft and 9 helicopters from 3 air bases: Malacky Air Base, Sliac Air Base, Prešov Air Base. Together with the Czech Air Force, it succeeded the Czechoslovak Air Force in 1993. The Slovak Air Force is part of the NATO Integrated Air Defense System – NATINADS.
The Slovak Air Force is tasked with the defense of the sovereign Slovak state and the support of the nation's ground troops. Nine Russian upgraded fighter aircraft MiG-29 together with eight modernized basic and light advanced trainers (Aero L-39) dominate the inventory, followed by the seven Let L-410s. The last Antonov An-26 transport aircraft were withdrawn from service on March 4, 2016. The helicopter fleet consists of the nine Mil Mi-17s. Eight Mil Mi-24s were withdrawn from service on September 20, 2011. The Slovak Air Force has been under the command of Major 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 July 28, 2014 Slovak Minister of Defence Martin Glváč confirmed that the JAS-39 Gripen was selected as the new fighter aircraft for the Slovak Air Force.
Slovakia to open talks with Sweden on Gripen jet fighters. In its effort to boost defence capabilities, Slovakia is set to begin official talks on the rental of Gripen jet fighters from Sweden, with the Slovak government assigning the task to Defence Minister Martin Glváč at its regular session on March 18, 2015. Glváč envisaged the beginning of the negotiations back in late January. The government maintains, as quoted by the TASR newswire, that Sweden is the only country to offer Slovakia an option whereby it could rent flying hours. Details of the costs and number of Gripens to be used in Slovakia are still to be elaborated during the talks.
After two years of talks with Sweden about acquiring Gripens, Slovakia is now pursuing other options regarding its fighter squadrons and is in talks with Russia to extend its use of MiG-29 fighters by 2019.
Bases and Commands
- Air Force Command (Veliteľstvo Vzdušných síl OS SR), based in Zvolen
- Transport Wing (Dopravné krídlo), based at Malacky Air Base
- Tactical Wing (Taktické krídlo), based at Sliač Air Base
- Helicopter Wing (Vrtuľníkové krídlo), based at Prešov Air Base
- Anti-aircraft Missile Brigade (Protilietadlová raketová brigáda), based in Nitra
- Command, Control and Surveillance Brigade (Brigáda velenia, riadenia a prieskumu), based in Zvolen
- Air Operations Center in Zvolen
- Radar Battalion in Zvolen
|MiG-29||Russia||multirole||12||2 missing engines|
|L-410 Turbolet||Czech Republic||surveillance||1|
|Antonov An-26||Ukraine||transport||2||All were retired.|
|L-410 Turbolet||Czech Republic||transport||6|
|Alenia C-27J||Italy||transport||2 on order|
|Schweizer 269C||United States||trainer||1|
|Mil Mi-17||Russia||transport / utility||13||4 were retired|
|Sikorsky UH-60||United States||utility||UH-60M||9 on order|
|Aero L-39||Czech Republic||trainer||10||3 were retired|
|Elbit Skylark||Israel||surveillance||I-LEX||5||assigned to the Ministry of Interior and 5th regiment|
The Slovak government has given approval for the acquisition of nine Sikorsky UH-60M helicopters. The 261 million US dollars (€236.7 million) deal, would include training, logistics, spares, and maintenance, the aircraft could be delivered between 2017 and 2019.
|S-300(SA-10)||Soviet Union||SAM system||1 battery||One battery will have 48 missiles. Probably will be transition to system Patriot or Arrow 3.|
|2K12 Kub||Soviet Union||SAM system||5 batteries||tracked medium-range surface-to-air missile system|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Air force of Slovakia.|
- Official Homepage of the Slovak Air Force
- Slovak Ministry of Defence page on the Slovak Air Force(en, sk)
- Home page of Slovakia's 1 Fighter Squadron(en, sk)
- Home page of 2nd Training Squadron, AFB Sliac(en,sk)
- Website of the former Slovak Flight demonstration team(en, sk)
- Website of the disbanded Slovak Military Flight Academy(sk)
- Scramble on the Web page for the Slovak Air Force(en)
- Aeroflight World Airforces on Slovakia(en)
- Eagles of the Tatras: The Slovak Airforce 1939 – 1945(en)