The Slovak Air Force is to have its MiG-29 'Fulcrum' fighter aircraft upgraded, under two contracts awarded to RSK MiG.
The contracts, announced by MiG on 2 September, will see the company "provide for repair and rework of aircraft radar systems" and services for repair and recovery work on the aircraft's airframes.
The state of Slovakia's MiG-29s is controversial, with Slovakian Defence Minister Martin Glvác stating on 4 September that past support contracts were not enforced by the previous ministry leadership, leading to widespread cannibalisation of aircraft in order to source spares. According to Glvác, Slovakia has lacked sufficient spare engines, landing gear, and other major components to maintain its full fleet due to past support arrangements not being enforced.
In a statement, the Slovakian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said past support arrangements should have "ensured delivery of spare parts and repair" to damaged aircraft. However, this "never happened" as the past leadership "did not insist on the implementation of subscription agreement".
According to the MoD statement, the "consequence [of the cannibalisation] has been less serviceable aircraft, reduced pilot flight hours, higher fighter failure rates and finally threats to the security of the country".
Slovakia signed an upgrade contract in 2004 for 12 of its MiG-29s to be modernised and their service lives extended through to 2030-35. These aircraft were delivered back to Slovakia in 2008; however, IHS Jane's data has revealed that only four of these were believed to be fully operational by May 2011.
According to the MoD, due to the "damage to property in the state administration, [we] will hold a criminal investigation".
From the Russian side, Sergei Korotkov, the general director of MiG, stated that "the implementation of the [new] contracts will greatly improve the performance of the MiG-29s [of the] Slovak Air Force". He added that MiG is interested in a "long-term collaboration" with Slovakia.