Slovakian Air Force History
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Slovakia
Air Force


Narrative History:

The Czechoslovak Army Air Force was formed on 29 October 1918, from the small air components of the Czech Legions fighting with Russia and France. A French military aviation mission assisted in the formation of the new air arm.
The Army Air Force expanded rapidly to become a large and well equipped force. Any attempt by Germany to seize the 'Sudetenland' by force in 1938 could have been successfully resisted, but instead Czechoslovakia was forced by its 'Allies' to concede one third of it's territory to the Germans. When Germany annexed the remaining territory on 15 March 1939, the armed forces offered no resistance, but large numbers of personnel escaped to join the Polish and French air forces. Between 1939 and 1944, the Slovak Air Force fought alongside the German Luftwaffe, both in the air defence role and also later on the Russian front. Slovak pilots also flew extensively in the National Uprising of 1945 against the Germans.
Following the end of the war, a new Czechoslovak air force (Ceskoslovenské Letectvo) was established with personnel and equipment from Germany, Britain, Russia and the former Slovak air force. As the Communists consolidated power during 1948, all pro-Western personnel were purged from the armed forces and Russian advisors moved in. The air force was re-organised along Soviet lines and expanded with new airfields constructed and more Russian combat aircraft delivered. The first MiG-15 jet fighters were received in 1951. The armed forces made no attempt to resist during the Warsaw Pact invasion of 20-21 August 1968.
During the 'velvet divorce' of 1993, the existing air force (Ceskoslovenske Vojenske Letectvo) was divided up in the ratio two to one in favour of the Czech Republic, based on population ratio, except for the MiG-29s which were divided equally, and the MiG-23s which all went to the Czech Republic Air Force. Since most of the key air force facilities and aircraft had been located in the portion of Czecholovakia which faced the NATO alliance, i.e. the Czech Republic, the Slovaks initially faced several problems in organising the new air force. These included establishing a new control and communications system, redeploying personnel and equipment to new locations, and upgrading the existing air base infrastructure to cope with the sudden influx from the west. On 1 March 1995 the air force completed the introduction of a western-style organisational structure, featuring Squadrons and Wings rather than the previous Soviet system based on Aviation Regiments. Initially known as Letectva a Protivzdu Obrany-Snej Slovenskej - LVPOS (Slovak Air Force and Air Defence Force), it was renamed to its present title on 1st January 2002.

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First Created: 2 June 2008 - Last Revised: 2 June 2008
Copyright © 2008 John Hayles.     e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk