25 October 2019

The first Russian-Serbian common air defence exercise executed on Serbia’s territory with Russian military technique

Monitorul Apărării şi Securităţii

On October 24th 2019, on Serbia’s Defence Ministry website, it was posted the information according to which the state was about to execute a common tactical exercise, with fight shootings, by air defence units of the Serbian Army and the Russian Federation Aerospace Forces (VKS RF). Name code: “Slavic Shield 2019” (“Slovenski Stit 2019”).

Image source: Mediafax

According to the press release, the exercise will be executed on the “Colonel Pilot Milenko Pavlovic” Airdrome, from Batajnica (Belgrade) and the inter-arms polygon “”Pasuljanske livade”, close to Cuprija. The other units of the Serbian Air Forces will be also committed in the exercise. The press release also reveals that the purpose of the exercise is the establishment and use of a common air defence group, composed of Serbia’s Army subunits and VKS RF, targeting territory and the armed forces’ defence against the air research and enemy’s actions in the air space. Another objective is the training and instructing of both commands and units for the planning and execution of an air defence operation.  

Exercise’s commander is the commander of the 250th Belgrade Air Defence Missiles Brigade, brigade general Tiosav JANKOVIC.

At the exercises it participates, besides the air defence missiles systems, which are in Serbia’s Army endowment, the air defence missiles systems in VKS RF’s endowment.


Serbian defence ministry’s press release has some shortages, just like the other press releases regarding Serbia and Russia’s military collaboration and, especially, when it comes to military exercises.

More information were revealed by the Serbian mass media, which quoted military and civil sources from Russia.

Moscow has transferred in Serbia, through military aircrafts (probably on 23.10.2019), a short range of action air defence missile systems division S-400 “Triumph” and an artillery systems battery and “Pantsir-S” air defence missiles, to participate at the second phase of the Serbian-Russian air defence exercise “Slavic Shield”.

Before the exercise, a group of Serbian missile man (at the beginning of September 2019) were trained at a special VKS RF center from Leningrad Region (Gatcina), for the operation of S-400 and “Pantsir-S” missile systems. At the end of the instruction period, the Serbian military men have received certifications for the independent operation on those systems. It was for the first time when such a coursework was being developed for the Serbian missile men on such systems.

Then (in the middle of the same month), Serbian soldiers went to the Fight training center of VSK RF, from the Astrakhan Region.  After a short training period on simulators, the Serbian military men, certified as independent operators on S-400 and Pantsir-S systems, have participated to a large-scale exercise of the Russian air defence units (the first phase of the “Slavic Shield 2019” exercise). The active phase of the exercise, including with fight missile launches, were executed in the special air defence polygon from Asuluk.

The chief of the Serbian missile men delegation which have participated at the certification and, then, at the first phase of the “Slavic Shield 2019” exercise, in the Russian Federation, was the commander of the 250th Brigade from Belgrade, General T. Jankovic, who leads the second phase of the exercise (23-29.10.2019), in Serbia.

Serbian mass-media talks also about the fact that Serbia already acquired (paid!) artillery systems and air defence missiles “Pantsir-S” from the Russian Federation, but they were not delivered yet.

Belgrade’s lack of transparency on its relations (especially military) with Moscow is proved also by the fact that Serbian mass-media found out about the delivery by the Russian side, on the Batajnica airdrome, of three Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters for the Serbian army, on 16.10.2019, only after they got on the Serbian territory. Then, the three helicopters were exposed to the “static phase” of the demonstrative exercise “Liberty 2019 ”, executed on 19.10.2019, on Batajnica’s airdrome, in the presence of the Russian prime-minister, Dmitri Medvedev, on the occasion of 75 years celebration since Belgrade’s liberation in the World War II.

Furthermore, the Serbian mass-media found out about the participation of two Mi-35M assault helicopters and a T-73B3 tanks belonging to the Russian army only on the day of the “Liberty 2019” exercise.

Translated by Andreea Soare