Slovak Air Force

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Slovak Air Force
Slovak Air Force logo.png
Active 1939–1945
1993–Present
Country  Slovakia
Allegiance NATO
Size 25 aircraft
10 helicopters
3.200 personnel
Commanders
Air Force Commander Brigadier General Miroslav Korba[1]
Insignia
Roundel Coat of arms of Slovakia.svg
Low-visibility Roundel Roundel of the Slovakian Air Force (low visibility).svg
Aircraft flown
Attack L-39ZAM, Mi-17M
Fighter MiG-29AS/UBS
Trainer L-39CM
Transport An-26, L-410, Mi-17M

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 25 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.[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] Twelve 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 Let L-410 and Antonov An-26 transport aircraft.[13] The helicopter fleet consists of the ten Mil Mi-17.[14]Eight Mil Mi-24 were withdrawn from service on September 20, 2011.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] Although the rebel forces were defeated by Nazi Germany, guerrilla warfare continued until the Soviet Army occupied Slovakia in 1945.[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]

1993-2014[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 were retired.[31][32][33][34]

On 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 3 years modernization programme for their MiG-29.[37][38][39][40]

On July 28, 2014 Slovakian Minister of Defence Martin Glváč[41] confirmed that JAS-39 Gripen was selected as new fighter for Slovak Air Force.[42][43][44][45][46][47][48]

On August 30, 2014 the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Sweden have signed a letter of intent agreeing to co-operate on using the Saab Gripen fighter – paving the way for a potential Slovakian acquisition of the aircraft.[49][50]

Bases and Commands[edit]

Air bases of the Slovak Air Force

Aviation assets are divided between three major air bases throughout the country, at Malacky-Kuchyňa, Sliač, and Prešov. The headquarters of the air force is at Zvolen.[51]

Headquarters of Slovak Air Force (Veliteľstvo Vzdušných síl OS SR), based at Zvolen[52]

Transport Wing (Dopravné krídlo), based at Malacky-Kuchyňa[53][54][55][56]

  • 1st Transport Flight (1. Dopravný roj): An-26
  • 2nd Transport Flight (2. Dopravný roj): L-410

Mixed Wing (Zmiešané krídlo), based at Sliač[57]

  • 1st Squadron (1. Letka): MiG-29AS, MiG-29UBS
  • 2nd Squadron (2. Letka): L-39CM, L-39ZAM

Helicopter Wing (Vrtuľníkové krídlo), based at Prešov

  • 1st Training and SAR Squadron (1. Výcviková a LPZS letka): Mi-17 LZPS
  • 2nd Transport Helicopter Squadron (2. Dopravná vrtuľníková letka): Mi-17M

Anti-aircraft Rocket Brigade (Protilietadlová raketová brigáda), based at Nitra

  • 1st Anti-aircraft Rocket Group (1. Protilietadlová raketová skupina, Nitra): SA-10B Grumble (S-300 PMU)
  • 2nd Anti-aircraft Rocket Group (2. Protilietadlová raketová skupina, Nitra): SA-6 Gainful (2K12 Kub 2M)

Command, Control and Surveillance Brigade (Brigáda velenia, riadenia a prieskumu), based at Zvolen

Aircraft Inventory[edit]

Aircraft Photo Origin Type Versions Number[58][59][60][61] Notes
Fighter Aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum Slovak Air Force MiG-29AS.JPG  Russia Fighter
Trainer
MiG-29AS
MiG-29UBS
10
2
Delivered in 1995. Only 6 MiG-29´s (5 MiG-29 AS and 1 MiG-29 UBS) are airworthy. Will be replaced until 2016 by 8 to 14 JAS-39 Gripen.[62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72]
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39 Albatros Aero L-39CM Albatross 5301 (9178070246).jpg  Czechoslovakia Light attack
Trainer
L-39ZAM
L-39CM
4
3
One L-39CM are being overhauled in LOT Trenčín.[73][74][75]
Transport Aircraft
Antonov An-26 Curl Slovak Air Force Antonov An-26 Bidini-1.jpg  Ukraine Transport An-26 1 Delivered in 1983. Will be replaced after 2015 by two C-27J Spartan.[76][77][78][79][80]
Let L-410 Turbolet L-410UVP-E20 (2721) Vzdušné sily SR.jpg  Czech Republic Transport L-410 UVP-E20
L-410 UVP-E14
L-410 FG
4
2
1
Used for light transport, photogrammetry, parachute training and VIP transport. Delivered between 2009 - 2013.[81]
Helicopters
Mil Mi-17 Hip Slovak Mi 17.jpg  Russia Transport
SAR
Mi-17M
Mi-17 LZPS
6
4
Delivered between 1987 - 1988. Will be replaced after 2016 probably by 10 new utility helicopters.[82][83]
UAV
Elbit Skylark Elbit Skylark Slovak Air Force.jpg  Israel UAV Skylark 5 Currently in possession of Ministry of Interior and 5th regiment of special assignment.[84]
SAM systems
S-300 PMU Slovak S-300.jpg  USSR Long range air defense system SA-10B 1 battery Delivered in 1985. Operational range 75 kilometres (47 mi). Battery have 48 missiles of type 5V55KD.[85]
2K12 Kub Sa6 1.jpg  USSR Low to medium range air defense system SA-6 4 batteries Delivered in 1980. Operational range 24 kilometres (15 mi). One battery have 12 missiles of type 2K12M3.[86]

Retired aircraft of the Slovak Air Force[edit]

Slovakian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF June 1997

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.parlamentnykurier.sk/kur217a218-13/16.pdf
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  14. ^ sk:Zoznam lietadiel Vzdušných síl Slovenskej republiky
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External links[edit]