Slovak Republic - Air Force
The Air Force is involved in peace and humanitarian operations, in elimination of military and non-military threats as well as in support of operational and tactical mobility. The aviation and air defence through their assigned forces and assets fulfil tasks close to a combat use in the emergency system for the whole territory of the Slovak Republic.
In 1991 the air and security formations from garrisons in Brno, Námešt and Prerov were moved to the historical airport TRI DUBY (Sliac) These formations laid the foundations for the establishment of the 81st Independent Fighter Squadron and the 81st Battalion of Airport and Radio Technical Security. The 31st Air Base was established from these formations in 1993. Today the Base supports the activity of fighter wing included in the emergency system of air defence. The fighter wing is composed of two fighter squadrons – one commanding squadron and one training squadron. The aircraft MiG-29 Fulcrum, MiG-21, L-39 Albatros, L-410 Turbolet and the helicopter Mi-17 are dislocated in the airport.
Independent Transport Squadron Kuchyna [ITS Kuchyna] was established in the territory of the former Training Base of Czecho-Slovak Air Force in 1993. The Base supports the activity of fighter bombing wing composed of 3 fighter bombing squadrons and simultaneously fulfils transport tasks of the Armed Forces SR. The aircraft Su-22 Fitter, Su-25 Frogfoot, L-29 Delfín, An-24 Coke, An-26 Curl, L-410 Turbolet and the helicopter Mi-8 are dislocated in the airport.
The Air Base Prešov was established in 1993 in the area of the former Military High School and in the airport in which no combat air formation acted for more than 30 years. The Base supports the activity of helicopter air wing that fulfils tasks of: direct fire support for land forces, conduct of battle with armoured enemy’s targets, radio electronic interference, air reconnaissance, mine warfare, transport, airborne and special tasks in favour of land troops and air force. The helicopter air wing is composed of 2 squadrons of combat helicopters and 2 squadrons of transport and special force. The helicopters Mi-24, Mi-17 a Mi-2 are dislocated in the airport.
The Brigade was established in 1995 through reorganisation of the 13th Anti-aircraft Rocket Regiment that was moved from the Czech Republic. In 2002 the Anti-aircraft Rocket Brigade from Rožnava was incorporated to the Brigade through reorganisation. The key role of the Brigade is to secure defence of the air space of the Slovak Republic. The Brigade is composed of the following anti-aircraft rocket groups (aarg): 1. aarg Nitra equipped with PLRK 2K12 KUB (PLRK – anti-aircraft rocket set) 2. aarg Nitra equipped with PLRK S300 PMU 3. aarg Pezinok equipped with PLRK S125 NEVA aarg Rožnava equipped with PLRK 2K12 KUB
Air Operation Control Centre (CRVO) was established in 2000 after organisational changes of the Air Force of the Armed Forces SR. CRVO is the main place of command of the Commander of the Air Force that through its activity supports the inviolability of the air space. It is equipped with LETVIS and ASOC systems. The LETVIS system (air visual information system) creates homogeneous picture of the air situation with ICAO standards in real time. The ASOC system (Air Support Operations Centre) is built as a supranational system that co-operates with similar system in the neighboring countries as well as in NATO nations. ASOC is integrated with the existing national system LETVIS.
The 1990s were an unusual period. By that time no Air Force and Air Defence concept document had been formulated; instead there were - so to say - spontaneous developments, regardless of real capabilities of the Slovak Armed Forces and of economic developments of the Slovak Republic. Certainly, the impacts had to be felt some time and they did appear in the years between 1998-99, when average flight hours for a single pilot plunged to 17 per year. The air defence and reconnaissance systems were in such appalling conditions that they required immediate attention, were they to maintain their operational capability.
The Slovak Air Force and Air Defence was too large and too financially demanding. There were almost 12 thousand service personnel and a lot of units and equipment which were beyond the means of the Slovak Republic to fund from the budget. When the Air Force intended to gradually increase the number of flight hours for pilots and make individual components of the Air Force functional again, the Air Force had to re-structure in a radical way. The Air Force Concept, formulated in 2000, was to mark a turning pointin that direction. But it was not adopted. Later on, the concept was amended and further developed into Model 2010.
Gradually, it was possible to reduce the total number of service personnel in the Slovak Air Force from 12 thousand to about 4 thousand servicemen and women, the number of combat aircraft went significantly down from almost 150 to 12, the number of air bases was reduced from five to two, plus the detached squadron in Kuchyna. In addition, there was a decrease in the number ofair defence systems from 15 to 5 (including the S-300 system). This trend was also reflected in the reduction of air-defence missile brigades – they were downscaled from 3 to 1.
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