Slovakia will transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine in exchange for temporary airspace protection from Poland and Czechia, reports suggest.
Talks to implement the scheme have been happening in the context of a similar exchange which could see Slovakia receive German-made Leopard 2 tanks in exchange for delivering Soviet-era T-72s to Ukraine, according to a report by Business Insider.
Slovakia has been named as one of the likely candidates for providing Ukraine with new fighter jets since March 2022, shortly after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country.
Numerous weapons systems have been transferred from Slovakia to Ukraine, including S-300 air defense systems.
There have been reports that some NATO countries, possibly Slovakia, have already delivered combat aircraft to Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian government has denied this, claiming that only aircraft parts had been received.
Read more: Pentagon says Ukraine given new aircraft, UAF refers to spare parts, components
The Slovak Air Force possesses up to 11 Soviet-era MiG-29AS and UBS fighter jets, most of them inherited from the Czechoslovak Air Force. According to Oryx data, only six of the aircraft, including one MiG-29UBS trainer, are believed to be operational.
In 2018 Slovakia signed a contract for 14 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighter jets in the latest Block 70/72 configuration. The deliveries are expected to start in 2023.
In addition, the country’s air force is running an advanced jet trainer tender with the aim of procuring several trainers that could double as light combat aircraft.