A warning from the air force commander that Slovakia's 18RSKMiG-29 Fulcrums are in a critical condition has pushed the government to allocate $70 million to overhaul and upgrade the fighters.

Air force commander Jozef Dunaj wants the work done in a year, while the government says financing will come from Russia's debt to Bratislava. "The Slovak air force presumes it would continue operating the supersonic MiG-29s until 2015," says the defence ministry, adding "no tender for any new aircraft has to date been declared".

Reports suggest only three aircraft are operational due to a funding shortage, while spares deliveries are behind schedule.

The upgrade would probably be done in Slovakia by RSK, which was to have received finance for the work from Russia, but this fell through. Slovakia is to receive cash from a Russian bank in exchange for the debt claim.

Source: Flight International