(8 Mar 23) – “Poland is ready to give its MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine as part of an international coalition”, President Andrzej Duda said in an interview with CNN International in Abu Dhabi. He added that Ukraine is to receive F-16 aircraft in the future. “The rest of the MiG-29s that we have in Poland and that are now serving in our air force – we are ready to deliver these planes and I am sure that Ukraine would be ready to use them immediately,” Duda said.
WARSAW, Poland (13 Dec 22) — In a potentially major reinforcement of Ukraine’s air combat capability, Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Ratislav Káčer has announced his country is preparing to transfer Soviet-made Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets to the Ukrainian Air Force in coordination with the United States. “We have not yet handed [Ukraine] the MiG-29s. But we are ready to do it. We are talking with our NATO partners about how to do it,” Káčer told local news agency Interfax Ukraine. “And … we had a very meaningful conversation with [Ukraine’s] president. My defense minister explained to [the Ukrainian] president how we can do this. And I think that, in the coming weeks, a Ukrainian delegation will come to Slovakia, and we will work together with our American friends to make this reality.”
Comment: That’s 30 MiG-29s from Poland and 11 more from Slovakia. That would pretty much double Ukraine’s MiG-29 fleet. With the proven capability of firing the AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile and the ability to also use the JDAM-ER precision strike munitions, this should be a great help for future offensive operations once the ground dries up.
Last year the US was apprehensive enough about Poland providing these MiG-29s to scotch the deal. I think it was due to another self-imposed Russian red line. We’ve apparently gotten over that particular apprehension. Poland also wanted to do this as a multilateral deal. The Slovakian MiGs makes it so.
The JDAM-ER has a range of 40 miles. I have no idea if the Ukrainian Air Force can fly deeper strike missions through formidable Russian air defenses. Perhaps in conjunction with HARM, HIMARS and partisan/SOF support clearing the way, it’s a possibility. We can also provide all the surveillance and early warning support needed for such deep strikes, at least into Crimea. Providing direct EW support probably remains a Russian red line. We are also looking at ways to allow existing Ukrainian aircraft to use the AIM-120 air-to-air missile. That may be easier with the Polish upgraded MiG-29s. They already meet certain NATO standards. This is one area that Russia currently has a clear advantage over the Ukrainians with the Vympel R-77 and R-37.