01 August 2018

Serbia continues the endowment and modernization for its security and defence forces

Monitorul Apărării şi Securităţii

Serbia wants “military neutrality” and continues to develop its defence and security system, considering the challenges analyses, the risks and the threats received against its security. Discouragement is the most important thing in the security and defence paradigm promoted by the Republic of Serbia, where technical endowment and the modernization of the Serbian army plays an important role. Among the target countries for discouragement stays the power in Pristina. Simultaneously with the process of equipage and endowment, Belgrade’s authorities supports the national defence industry. For weaponry and military technique achievements, but also military cooperation, generally, Belgrade will continue to look for partners in East, as well as in West.

Image source: www.mod.gov.rs


Serbia’s Army measures for technical endowment and modernization

Serbia is one of the states formed under Yugoslavia’s dissolution (Social Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), one of the “Non-Aligned Movement’s” leaders, under the leadership of the ex-president, Josip Broz “Tito”. In this circumstance, but also after the negative experience with NATO and NATO’s member states in the severe SFRL’s destruction process, especially after NATO’s military intervention against Yugoslavia (between March-June, 1999), in December 2007, the Serbian republic parliament adopted a pledge, which claims “military neutrality” against the existent military blocks.[1] Although a lot of analysts remarked that this pledge is not an international law act and does not lead to international recognition of the Serbian’s state “neutrality”, all leaders in Belgrade respected the pledge’s provisions, regarding the non-adherence to some existent military block and used it as a base for military collaboration development with all the interested states from East and West.

As a consequence of the “military neutrality” option, Belgrade’s authorities postulated the necessity of the defence and security capacities consolidation, where an important role has the national defence industry. Considering this, Belgrade’s develops partnerships in military, tech-military, economic-military and security domain with NATO’s member states, but also with other member states of OTSC (especially with the Russian Federation and Belarus Federation). An important role has the technique acquisitions and the military exercises in common execution.

A concrete effect of the “military neutrality” option is the support offered by the politic-military leaders from Belgrade for Serbia’s army modernization and endowment process, with weaponry, military techniques and ammunition systems from the local production, as well as foreign acquisitions.

The importance that the Serbian leaders show for this process can also be remarked through the organization of various land activities of these equipment (especially in the last two years), as well as in putting these activities into the spotlight.[2]

The most recent act in this domain, on 29.07.2018, was a presentation activity of techniques and equipment, which will enter VS’s endowment, for the “1500+” project and had inclusively practical exercises of demonstrative firing with war ammunition. The Serbian mass-media underlined that it is an activity made exclusively at Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s demand. [3]

The verification activity on 29.07 was deployed on “Nikinci” shooting ground, from Technical Testing Center, subordinated to SMG from VS.

The personnel from the Special Brigade of VS deployed tactics exercises with various techniques categories and executed demonstrative firings with various weaponry systems. “Zastava oruzje” employees executed firings with modular air gun made in the manufacture.

There were presented and executed demonstrative firings with infantry weaponry: SKAR-L Belgian assault air gun (two kinds, long and short barrel), M-21 automated air gun 5,56 mm caliber, automated modular air gun produced by “Zastava oruzje” (M17, 6,5X39/7,62X39 mm caliber), 416 and G36C Heckler and Koch guns, M07 scope air gun (with repetition) and so on.

There were presented the GRENDEL ammunition (cal. 6,5X39), mechanic potshot systems and electronics, Belgian air gun-machine gun etc.

There were KIV tactical procedures with command and research motor-vehicles, MILOS armored motor-vehicle, LAZAR 3 multirole armored motor-vehicle, PASARS 16 auto-propelled systems by air defence missiles. It was also launched an anti-tank missile, MALIUTKA.

At the end of the activity, president A.Vucic stated that he is pleased with the demonstrations, especially with Special Brigade’s personnel activity, Kragujevac’s manufacture and Lazar and Milos armored motor-vehicle exercises.

The “1500”and “1500+1” projects refers to the equipage and endowment (first phase) of 1500 militaries for the quick reaction forces of the Serbian army[4], modern infantry weaponry systems, fight techniques, ammunition and other equipment, the process continuing after this for other 1500 militaries. At the same time, there are technique modernization efforts of some forces from the Internal Business Minister of Republic of Serbia.

The “1500” and “1500+1” projects are made with the contest of the Serbian defence industry, as well as with foreign acquisitions. On 29.07, President A. Vucic publicly admitted that, in a series of domains, Serbia does not have adequate capacities for its defence and security forces endowment and modernization, so they will probably negotiate with foreign partners (for the endowment with UAVs or with air defence missiles[5], concomitant with continuing the local efforts (for “Vrabas” and “Pegaz” UAVs development, following the Milos robot land mini-platform model, produces at PPT Namenska company in Trstenik).  

The activity in Nikinci, on 29.07, needs to be analyzed for various reasons:

  • It was motivated by VS’s commander will to personally be sure of the training and fight capacity level assured by the new weaponry systems, military technique and ammunition. (developed in those two projects);
  • Press had access to the activity, especially to present them the real situation;
  • It was confirmed the phase they are at for weaponry, military techniques, ammunition and equipment endowment;
  • Belgrade’s administration made some statements regarding the actual situation and the future of VS’s technical modernization[6] and some of the reasons why they made efforts in this area;   

On 29.07, President A. Vucic affirmed that at the end of October and the beginning of November 2018, the Serbian air forces will have eight or nine MiG-29 operative planes, 9 H145M “Airbus” helicopter were acquired,[7]they are negotiating VS’s acquisition of 3 transport Mi-17 helicopters and 4 fight Mi-35 helicopters.

Regarding one of the reasons for adopting the program of technical modernization, which got the military analysts attention, Alecksandar Vucic said:

-Serbia, as a neuter, military speaking, member, has to make big efforts for its defence forces endowment and modernization;[8]

-the main reason of consolidating the security and defence system of Republic of Serbia is the military endowment of some potential aggressors;[9]

In this context, it is possible that Serbian president’s statements, A. Vucic, to be a warning for those factors in Pristina (especially for the prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj, and parliament’s president, Kadri Veseli) to give up their war rhetoric in order to achieve the political objective from the mediated “dialogue” by Brussels.

We expect Belgrade’s administration to continue its activity and the Serbian defence industry’s modernization, as well as the endowment and the technical modernization of the forces from the security and defence system (army, police, gendarmerie etc.). Moreover, it is probable these to be put in the spotlight, through exercises, demonstrative firings and technique presentations, technique’s accomplishments of the national defence industry and the endowment and modernization phase of the Serbian security and defence forces. An important occasion for this would be the visit of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in Serbia, to cherish the Victory Day in the First World War (at the beginning of November, 2018). We must mention that the Serbian leader tried at this event to be present also the French president, but it is probable his visit to be in December, as the French president has some local meetings at that time, with the occasion of the event from the First World War, in November 1918.

Coincidence or not, on 27 and 28.07.2018, from the military airdrome “Batajnica” were made the first flights with one of the MiG-29 planes, donated from the Russian Federation to Serbia, in December 2016, which are fixed and ready to be introduced in VS’s air forces endowment, at the Aviation Manufacturing “Moma Stanojlovic”, in Batajnica, which is under the Serbian air forces suborder.

In its effort to acquire weaponry systems and military technique, Belgrade will look for partners in West (NATO and UE’s member states), but also in East (Russian Federation and China).



[1] NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization of the Independent Community States.

[2] In these circumstances, we must remark that at an activity like this one, “Sloboda 2017”, since 20.102017, was also invited a Russian delegation, led by the Russian defence minister, Serghei Soigu, with the participation at the activity of the aircraft stunts Russian team “Striji”.

[3] Frequently, he is also named “the supreme commander of VS”, although such position does not exist in the political and state system in Republic of Serbia. The president leads VS, at war and peace (according to art. 17 of Serbia’s Army Law and art. 11 of Defence Law from Republic of Serbia), names and fires the SMG chief, as well as all individuals that have the General positions in VS. The president of the country is the one who presides also the supreme institutions in the security domain: Serbia’s Republic National Security Council.

[4] Special Brigade from Pancevo, military police battalion, research companies from the land forces brigades.

[5] It was mentioned France, with Mistral missiles.

[6] The systems and the equipment presented are in the final rounds of testing, before entering in VS’s endowment.

[7] Initially, six were for VS, and three for the internal Serbian minister (MAI), being possible the modification to 5 for VS and 4 for MAI.

[8] Not having the support of some military alliance as a political pressure factor.

[9] “We want that each of those who would think that Serbia is an easy target, to feel fear and to clearly understand that they would face a hard resistance and even stronger than the resistance they would have considered 10 or 15 years ago.”