After the statement by the NATO high command that the alliance will transfer fighter planes to reinforce Ukraine’s defenses against Russian attacks, analysts have pointed out which possible aircraft were involved in the operation.
Due to the short time for the planes to enter combat, it is agreed that the Ukrainian Air Force will need fighters from which it already operates.
For that reason, the MiG-29 has been touted as the most likely fighter jet that could be deployed by NATO member countries. The MiG aircraft is operated by three nations that were part of the ‘Warsaw Pact’, NATO’s Cold War counterpart, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Of the three air forces, the Polish one is the best equipped, with 48 F-16s and 32 Sukhoi Su-22s, as well as 29 MiG-29s. Bulgaria has 13 aircraft of the model while Slovakia has another 11 jets.
There would therefore be at least 50 MiG-29 fighters available in a short time, which would join a similar number from the Ukrainian Air Force, without considering those that were possibly shot down during the conflict.
Air support from other NATO members
In addition to the MiG-29s, there are also eight Bulgarian Su-25s, which are used in ground attack and of which Ukraine had 17 examples before the Russian invasion.
Slovakia and Bulgaria also have 13 L-39 Albatross training jets, which often have a small combat capability. They are all aircraft known to Ukraine and that would adapt quickly despite technical differences due to improvements.
To dispose of the fighter fleet without jeopardizing their own air defense, the three nations could count on the air support of other NATO members such as the US or the UK.
Poland is also awaiting the start of deliveries on an order for 32 F-35 fighter jets while Bulgaria and Slovakia have orders for more advanced F-16 jets. None of these planes are expected to be delivered in 2022, however.