Analysis 20 Feb 17

‘Gifts’ to Serbia’s Military Come at a Cost

Serbia is hurriedly beefing up its military stocks but Russian and Belarusian donations of fighter jets will likely cost hundreds of million euros, since they are out of date and may require pricey adaptation.

Maja Zivanovic, Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Belgrade, Podgorica
Serbian officials, including PM Vucic, during a recent visit to Minsk. Photo: Beta.

Serbia is planning to spend millions of euros this year on modernising and overhauling its air fleet and on six planes due to be delivered as a donation from Russia in March or April.

“Realised procurement and modernisation will greatly enhance our operational capability and the safety of our skies, and the overhaul and modernization of planes from Russia, as well as [Serbia’s] existing four MIG jets, will cost €185 million,” the Defence Ministry told BIRN.

During the year, Serbia is also expected to modernise the army’s air power with several combat aircraft and missile systems procured mostly from Eastern bloc nations, making its army more dependent on Russia.

Experts accept that Serbia’s armed forces need a full makeover, as most of its current weapons and equipment date from Yugoslav times.

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