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​Most of the Slovak MiG-29 Fighters for Ukraine Were Disassembled Before the Transfer, It's a Bad Sign

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MiG-29AS of the Slovak Air Force / Illustrative photo credit: Vzdušné sily OS SR
MiG-29AS of the Slovak Air Force / Illustrative photo credit: Vzdušné sily OS SR

New MiG-29AS are the most modern fighters in Ukraine's aircraft park but the fact 9 out of 13 had to be delivered by land raises worries about their condition

The Ministry of Defense of Slovakia has reported all the promised MiG-29AS fighter jets had been delivered to Ukraine. The process began this March with the first four flying to the Ukrainian airfields on their own but the other 9 planes were brought another way.

"The transfer of equipment was conducted by road, while maintaining the highest levels of security. Once again, our thanks go out to all those involved in the transfer, because in cases like this, it is always really an important and challenging logistics operation," said Slovak defense minister Jaroslav Naď in a statement.

Read more: ​Slovakia Suspects russian Sabotage With MiG-29 Jets For Ukraine
Illustrative photo credit: Vzdušné sily OS SR

The nine aircraft were disassembled so that they could be transported by land. The reason for that was not specified by the ministry but most likely they were incapable of flying.

Earlier we mentioned that before the transfer of the first four jets, Ukrainian technicians arrived in Slovakia a week prior to the departure to bring spare parts and have a check-up of the aircraft. Probably, as a result they may have confirmed the sabotage by russian technicians who worked with the MiG-29ASs at the Slovak air base prior to the russian invasion of Ukraine. There were already confirmed problems with engines they had access to.

But this could be not the only problem they caused in order to spoil the overall condition of Slovak MiG-29s so that it was too bad to fix out in the field, and that's why the disassembling was in order. This way the planes could be safely brought to specialized facilities in Ukraine that have all the equipment necessary for an overhaul.

Illustrative photo credit: Vzdušné sily OS SR

Nonetheless, the Slovak MiG-29AS are the most modern fighters in the Ukrainian Air Force now. These jets Slovakia got from russia in 1994-1996, then throughout 2004-2007 they were modernized in a joint project of the russian MiG, American Collins and British BAE Systems.

Illustrative photo credit: Vzdušné sily OS SR

The upgrade included a new cockpit computer, multifunctional displays on the flight deck, communication systems and other avionics. For comparison, the MiG-29s received by Ukraine from Poland are the simple base version from the Warsaw Pact era.

Earlier Defense Express explained why the transfer of MiG-29 by Slovakia and Poland cannot become a substitute for the provision of 4+ Gen fighters like the F-16 but is only an important symbolic step toward the decision on modern Western aircraft. Even if the decision is made jointly by a coalition of several countries.

Read more: ​Why NATO Wasn't Even Trying to Adapt MiG-29 for Western Missiles