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news 08 May 13

Serbia to Buy Fighter Jets from Russia

Serbia's Air Force is to be modernized after 20 years with new fighter aircraft and radar systems from Russia.

BIRN
Belgrade

“I have good news for Serbian army,” Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar said on Monday at the military base at Zuce near Belgrade, referring to ongoing negotiations with Russia's MIG company on buying aircraft and radar systems.

The plan is to buy six fighter aircraft and two new radar systems.

Vucic also said the Aeronautical Plant Moma Stanojlovic in Belgrade is an important part of the deal and could be turned into a regional plane repair and overhaul centre.

According to the minister, the centre would extend the lifespan and efficiency of the new planes.

Vucic said the arrangement will most likely be conducted in the form of a loan, but the Defence Ministry is yet to come out with precise information on the price and payment.

A final agreement between Serbs and Russians is due on May 21, when Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic is to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

The same topic will be discussed with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on 23-24 May in Moscow.

Zlatomir Grujic, a retired air force colonel and a lecturer at the Air Force Academy, believes that buying Russian “Migs" marks the beginning of the long-expected modernization of the Serbian Air Force.

“Purchase of aircraft means the possibility of defending our airspace," he said. “This is an impetus and impulse for Serbian air force to further modernize," Grujic told the newspaper Vecernje Novosti.

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