Perhaps the most eye-catching camouflages on display here at Farnborough are the digital pattern applied to the single-seat MiG-29AS and tiger stripes on the two-seat MiG-29UBS, both from the Slovak air force. The “S” in the aircraft’s designation denotes that they have undergone a modernization program, conducted in conjunction with the MiG Corporation.
Slovakia inherited a fleet of nine single-seaters and one MiG-29UB two-seater with the partition of Czechoslovakia. It subsequently added 12 MiG-29s and another pair of MiG-29UBs from Russian stocks in the 1990s. However, budgetary constraints saw many of the aircraft fall into disuse.
Now the Slovak air force has a commitment to patrol its own airspace through the NATO Integrated Air Defense System (NATINADS). To ensure it could meet the demands of its NATO tasks, the MiG-29 fleet needed attention. While operational capabilities remain the same, the MiG-29AS has a new nav/comms suite, including GPS. Twelve aircraft, including MiG-29UBS two-seaters, went back into service this February.