Poland is about to deliver four of its MiG-29 fighter aircraft to Ukraine in the next few days. These aircraft will be joined by others that require maintenance before delivery. In total, the Ukrainian Air Force is about to receive more than a dozen Polish fighter jets... and perhaps more, if other countries decide to follow Poland.
Polish MiGs finally delivered
At the beginning of the conflict, Poland wanted to deliver some of its fighter jets that it no longer used to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. However, after numerous reversals, the Polish government has backed down (article on the subject)... until March 16, 2023! At a press conference with his Czech counterpart, Petr Pavel, Polish President Andrzej Duda confirmed that Poland will indeed transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. The flightworthy and combat-capable aircraft will be delivered in the coming days, making Poland the first country to deliver operational combat aircraft to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. With 18 Ukrainian MiG-29s destroyed, this delivery would at least combat two-thirds of the confirmed Ukrainian MiG-29 losses, if not all of them.
"In the first instance, we will transfer to Ukraine in the next few days [...] four fully operational aircraft. [...] Other aircraft are currently undergoing maintenance and will probably be transferred successively." President Duda also added: "So we can say that we are about to send these MiGs to Ukraine."
They will also be joined by other Polish MiG-29s, but the latter must first undergo maintenance prior to their delivery. In total, between 11 and 19 aircraft would be delivered.
Last Tuesday, while being vague and not officially confirming the delivery rumors, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was already clarifying that Poland could deliver fighter jets to Ukraine within four to six weeks (according to Reuters).
Poland is about to permanently retire its fleet of MiG-29 fighters. They are to be replaced soon by FA-50s and FA-50PLs (built in Poland under license), not to mention F-35A Lightning IIs.
Just Poland ?
In April 2022, Slovakia was already considering the delivery of fighter aircraft but without authorizing the delivery (more info here). On March 9, 2023, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad clarified the future of the 11 MiG-29s retired this summer :
"I think it is time to make a decision. People are dying in Ukraine, we can help them, there is no room for Slovak politicking."
Before Poland's official announcement, Slovakia had already announced that it was part of a coalition of countries, including at least Poland, and wishing to deliver fighter aircraft to Ukraine. Thus, there are no further announcements at this time, but a forthcoming delivery of Slovak MiG-29s is clearly to be expected.
However, there is no indication demonstrating a delivery of non-Soviet fighter aircraft. In contrast, James Heappey, the British defense minister, announced on March 14 that he was exploring the possibility of delivering Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoons to countries that have decided to deliver fighter aircraft to Ukraine. He also confirmed that other countries were asking the same question, without citing any examples.
Article modified on March 16, 2023 at 5:15 pm.
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