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Slovakia Boosts Ukraine’s Defense: Hands Over Entire Fleet of MiG-29 Fulcrum Fighter Jets

Slovakia has successfully handed over all 13 of its MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets to Ukraine in a logistical operation that Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď described as “important and challenging.” The transfer was carried out by road while maintaining high levels of security.

The handover process was coordinated with Poland, Ukraine, and other allies, as per the announcement by Slovak Prime Minister Heger. The recent addition of nine fighter jets to the four that were flown to Ukraine by Ukrainian pilots in March 2023 provides valuable support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia. In return for the transfer, Slovakia is expected to receive approximately $900m in compensation, as well as two Kub anti-aircraft missile systems, a control system, and ammunition to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to replace Slovakia’s aging fleet of MiG-29s with modern multirole fighters. Minister Naď emphasized that the transfer of MiG-29 Fulcrums demonstrates Slovakia’s support for Ukraine in defending against Russia’s military aggression. The Chief of General Staff for the Slovak Republic Armed Forces, General Daniel Zmeko, confirmed that MiG-29 fighters were no longer necessary for the requirements of the Slovak Armed Forces.

The aircraft had experienced a high failure rate and were last modernized in 1996. The handover of the MiG-29s will have no adverse impact on Slovakia’s defense capability, as the country is acquiring new aircraft and armored vehicles to remain competitive. Slovakia is set to experience a gradual increase in its defense budget from 2023 to 2027, peaking at $3.8bn in 2027, attributed to several planned procurements, including a new fleet of CV90 infantry fighting vehicles and main battle tanks.

The acquisition of a fresh set of F-16V multirole fighter planes is also expected to contribute significantly to spending towards 2027.

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