Slovak Air Force

Air warfare branch of Slovakia's military
Slovak Air Force
Vzdušné sily Ozbrojených síl Slovenskej republiky
Slovak Air Force logo.svg
Emblem of the Slovak Air Force
Founded1 January 1993; 29 years ago (1993-01-01)
Country Slovak Republic 22
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size
  • Approx 3,200 personnel
  • 15 aircraft
  • 18 helicopters
Part ofSlovak Armed Forces
Garrison/HQZvolen
Commanders
Air Force CommanderMajor General Róbert Tóth[1]
Insignia
RoundelCoat of arms of Slovakia.svg Roundel of Slovakia – Low Visibility.svg
Aircraft flown
AttackL-39ZAM
HelicopterMi-17M/LPZS
Utility helicopterUH-60M
ReconnaissanceL-410FG
TrainerL-39CM
TransportC-27J, L-410UVP-E14/20
Military unit

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 three 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] Following the retirement of the Mikoyan MiG-29 in 2022, 7 L-39 Albatros provide the role fast-jet capability to the air force, awaiting the delivery of American F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft in 2024. 6 Let-410 Turbolet aircraft provide surveillance and transport capabilities, while 2 C-27 Spartan transports provide a light tactical airlift capability. The helicopter fleet consists of 9 Mil Mi-17, gradually being replaced by the UH-60 Black Hawk.

The Slovak Air Force has been under the command of Major General Róbert Tóth since January 1, 2021.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

History

1939–1945

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.[14][15][16]

1946–1992

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.[17] 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. [18]

1993–2018

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.[19] 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.[20] Around 2000–2002, Slovakia gradually retired many of the older aircraft, including the entire fleet of Su-22, Su-25, and MiG-21.[21] In 2004, the flight training academy and national aerobatic demonstration team Biele Albatrosy, both based at Košice, were disbanded.[22][23]

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.[24][25][26][27]

In January 2014, Slovakia started discussions with the Swedish Government regarding leasing or purchasing JAS-39 Gripen aircraft to replace their MiG-29 fighters.[28][29]

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.[30][31][32][33]

In April 2015, Slovak government announced it will buy nine UH-60 utility helicopters to replace its fleet of Mi-17 helicopters. The deal worth USD261 million includes also full life-cycle support for the aircraft and training for aircrews and ground personnel.[34]

On December 12, 2018, Slovakia signed a contract to acquire 14 F-16V Block 70/72. All are to be delivered by 2025.[35]

2022

Following a request for military aid by Ukraine, the Slovakian Air Force provided a number of aircraft and equipment as aid. In April, this included the donation of a Soviet era S-300PMU (NATO designation: SA-10F Grumble) air defence battery, in addition to 4 Mil Mi-17 and one Mil Mi-2 helicopters, through the European Peace Facility.[36][37][38] On 27 August 2022, the Soviet origin MiG-29s operated by the Slovak Air Force were retired.[39] An agreement with fellow NATO members Poland and Czechia was signed in order to establish joint patrols of airspace, until the delivery of American F-16s to the Slovak Air Force in 2024.[40][41] The retired MiGs may be donated to Ukrainian Air Force as military aid however the decision has yet to be made.[42]

Structure

class=notpageimage|
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 Air Operations Centre
Organization of the Slovak Air Force in 2021
  • Air Force Command, in Zvolen[43]
    • 46th Wing, at Malacky Air Base
    • 81st Wing, at Sliač Air Base
      • 1st Tactical Squadron, awaiting 14× F-16V Block 70/72
      • 2nd Tactical Squadron, with 6× L-39CM, 3× L-39ZAM[44]
      • Support Battalion
      • Air Traffic Provisions Battalion
      • Air Traffic Control Squadron
      • Maintenance Squadron
      • Medical Point
    • 51st Wing, at Prešov Air Base
      • 1st Helicopter Squadron, with 3× Mi-17M, 9× UH-60M[45]
      • 2nd Helicopter Squadron, with 2× Mi-17LPZS[46]
      • Air Traffic Provisions Battalion
      • Air Traffic Control Squadron
      • Maintenance Squadron
      • Medical Point
    • 11th Air Force Brigade, in Nitra
      • 1st Anti-aircraft Missile Group
      • 2nd Anti-aircraft Missile Group, with 5× 2K12M2 Kub-M2 (SA-6 Gainful)
      • "Igla" Anti-aircraft Division, with 72× 9K38 Igla2 (SA-18 Grouse)
      • Technical Division
      • Support Battalion
      • Operating Unit
      • Medical Point
    • 2nd Air Force Brigade, in Zvolen
      • Radar Surtem CAOC Uedem in Germany
      • Air Force Command Support Company
      • Medical Point

Aircraft

A Slovak Air Force MiG-29
A Mi-17 performing the SAR mission

Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States multirole F-16V 14 on order[47]
Transport
Alenia C-27J Italy transport 2[47]
L-410 Turbolet Czech Republic transport L-410UVP-E 6[47] one used for reconnaissance
Helicopters
Mil Mi-2 Poland utility 2[47]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility / SAR M/LPZS 13[47]
Sikorsky UH-60 United States utility UH-60M 11[47]
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39 Czech Republic jet trainer L-39CM/ZAM 7[47]
UAV
Elbit Skylark Israel UAV I-LEX 5[48] assigned to 5th Regiment.

Retired aircraft

A retired MiG-21

Previous aircraft operated by the Air Force include the MiG-21, MiG-29, 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,Mil Mi-24 helicopter.[49][50]

Air Defense

Name Origin Type In service Notes
SAM
S-300PMU Soviet Union SAM system 1 battery One battery with 45 missiles.[51][52][53]
2K12 Kub 2M Soviet Union SAM system 5 batteries Tracked medium-range surface-to-air missile system.[51]
9K38 Igla2 Soviet Union MANPADS Man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile system.[51]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Bio" (PDF). www.parlamentnykurier.sk. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  2. ^ "The ambitions of the Slovak armed forces. Theory and reality."
  3. ^ ""Trends in Slovak Republic military spending"" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Východiská strategického hodnotenia obrany Slovenskej republiky 2011"
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2022-05-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Na obranu pôjde v roku 2014 jedno percento HDP" 10 October 2013
  7. ^ "The Military Balance 2014"., February 05, 2014.
  8. ^ "Biela kniha o obrane SR 2013"
  9. ^ "Ozbrojené sily nemajú praktické kroky, tvrdí Martin Fedor". Webnoviny.sk. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  10. ^ "CÉROVSKÝ: Ozbrojené sily sú vo veľmi zlej situácii". Webnoviny.sk. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Ročenka MO SR 2012"
  12. ^ "Ročenka MO SR 2013"
  13. ^ "Commander of the Slovak Air Force". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Hkans Aviation page – The Slovak National Uprising". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  15. ^ Slovak Insurgent Air Force
  16. ^ List of World War II aces from Slovakia
  17. ^ ed David Oliver, Eastern European Air Power, No 3 in the AFM Airpower Series, Key Publishing Ltd, Stamford, Lincs, 1990–91, p.38-41
  18. ^ John Pike. "Slovak Republic Air Force – Equipment". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  19. ^ Ed. David Donald.The Pocket Guide to Military Aircraft and the World's Air Forces. Ed. David Donald. London:Hamlyn. 2001 ISBN 0-600-60302-4
  20. ^ "Slovak Air Arms".
  21. ^ White October Ltd. "The Conventional Imbalance and Debate on Russian Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  22. ^ "Scramble". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  23. ^ "Situácia na Ukrajine 2013" 12 December 2013
  24. ^ SME – Petit Press, a.s. "Vrtuľníky Mi-24 vzlietli v Prešove naposledy – Spravodajstvo – presov.korzar.sme.sk". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  25. ^ Azet.sk. "Vojakov je menej. Za desať rokov klesol ich počet o 8000". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  26. ^ "Nie je obrana už dávno v kríze?!" 24 April 2011
  27. ^ "Obrana po slovensky alebo Armáda, kam ťa to dovedú..." Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  28. ^ "Slovakia Plans To Acquire Fighter Jets". Defense News. Archived from the original on January 17, 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  29. ^ Stockholm TT (16 January 2014). "Slovakien intresserat av Gripen". SvD.se. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  30. ^ "Janes | Latest defence and security news".
  31. ^ "Minister Glváč odpísal sovietske Migy, opravy by stáli veľa". Webnoviny.sk. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  32. ^ SME – Petit Press, a.s. "Slovensk armda je zvisl od ruskch dodvok". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  33. ^ P E R E X , a. s. (22 April 2014). "Nové stíhačky si armáda prenajme". Pravda.sk. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  34. ^ "Slovak 'Hip' replacement settles on nine Black Hawks". janes.com. 30 April 2015. Archived from the original on 22 August 2015.
  35. ^ "Slovakia to purchase 14 Lockheed Martin F-16s". flightglobal.com. 12 July 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  36. ^ "Slovakia sends its air defence system to Ukraine". Reuters. 8 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  37. ^ Reuters (2022-06-16). "Slovaks give Mi helicopters, Grad rockets to Ukraine". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  38. ^ a.s, Petit Press (16 June 2022). "Slovakia donates attack helicopters to Ukraine". spectator.sme.sk.
  39. ^ Leone, Dario (2022-08-16). "'Slovak Air Force MiG-29s have not been handed over to Ukraine, they will be retired at Slovak International Air Festival on August 27,' Slovakia's Minister of Defence says". The Aviation Geek Club. Retrieved 2022-08-28.
  40. ^ "Poles, Czechs Vow to Protect Slovak Airspace as MiGs Retired". VOA. Retrieved 2022-08-28.
  41. ^ Reuters (2022-03-10). "Slovakia to get new F-16 fighter jets a year later". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-08-28.
  42. ^ "Czech Republic, Poland Agree To Protect Slovak Airspace Until Delivery Of U.S.-Supplied F-16s". rferl.org. 27 August 2022.
  43. ^ https://www.scramble.nl/orbats/slovakia[bare URL]
  44. ^ "L-39 Albatros". 2sqn.sk. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  45. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-17. Retrieved 2017-06-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  46. ^ a.s., Petit Press (27 June 2017). "The first two Black Hawks land in Slovakia". Archived from the original on 2017-09-04. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  47. ^ a b c d e f g "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal Insight. 2022. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  48. ^ P E R E X , a. s. "Armáda kúpila bezpilotné lietadlá. Snažila sa to tajiť". Pravda.sk. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  49. ^ "World Air Forces 1994 pg. 55". flightglobal.com. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  50. ^ "Slovakia Retires MiG-29 Freeing Fulcrum Jets For Ukraine". The Aviationist. Retrieved 10 September 2022.
  51. ^ a b c (www.aglo.sk), AGLO solutions. "Druhy techniky". www.plrb.mil.sk. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  52. ^ (www.aglo.sk), AGLO solutions. "Slovenské premiérové streľby na polygóne Šabla". www.vvzs.mil.sk. Archived from the original on 2016-01-25. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  53. ^ "Brochure" (PDF). www.mosr.sk. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2017-07-29.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Air force of Slovakia.
  • Official Homepage of the Slovak Air Force Archived 2013-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  • 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)
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