Mikoyan and Gurevich MiG-29AS, NATO reporting name ´Fulcrum´ (c/n 2960535409/4715, ´0921´ of the Slovak Air Force) taxiing at Malacky – Kuchyňa air base, August 2022.
Although the MiG-29 was already introduced within our Photo of the Week series, not just once but twice, however this particular photo is a special one – as it shows the Slovak Air Force aircraft during an official retirement event. That public farewell was organized in the last week of August at Malacky – Kuchyňa air force base, when this year´s edition of the Slovak International Air Fest was being held at the location. Therefore, this is our very last photo of the MiG-29 fighter aircraft with the Slovak markings.
Shortly ofter that farewell event, on 1st September 2022, all the MiG-29s had been withdrawn from active service with the Slovak Air Force and grounded. The Slovak Ministry of Defence offered the Fulcrums for sale but neither the customer nor final destination were disclosed so far.
A detailed story of the Slovak MiG-29s was already told on our pages in April of 2022, in the article focused on the Fulcrum service with the NATO countries, especially Bulgaria, Poland and Slovakia. In addition, approximately two weeks ago, we have also written about the retirement of those aircraft with the Slovak Air Force, as well about the aforementioned farewell event. We sincerely encourage you to read both articles to learn more about the aircraft and its service with air forces of the Alliance countries.
Nowadays, in Europe outside Russia and Belarus, the MiG-29s remain in active service in Poland and Bulgaria, however their days are already counted in both countries. Another operator of that type of aircraft is Serbia, that few years ago received some Fulcrums from Russia and then modernized them. Nevertheless, according to the Serbian Ministry of Defence, the country is now also looking for another fighter aircraft, this time of a Western origin.
Nothing lasts forever and such a replacement of the Fulcrum with a next generation aircraft is the natural order of things. However, for many military personnel, aviation enthusiasts and even general public, the MiG-29 still remains an icon of fighter aviation. Especially that in many Central and Eastern European countries the Fulcrums were delivered shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. As a consequence, becoming the symbol of new, independent air forces.
In conclusion, here is some information about the aircraft pictured above. The MiG-29A ´0921´ was acquired by Slovak Air Force in December of 1993. It was one of the fourteen fighters delivered to Slovakia between 1993 and 1996, as a part of settlement of the former Soviet debt.
Between 2004 and 2006, twelve Slovak Fulcrums were modernized to a NATO standard – the ´0921´ was among them, additionally being the first Slovak MiG-29 to receive new, attractive ´digital camouflage´ pattern.