Two of the six MiG29 fighters given by Moscow to Belgrade arrived in Serbia on Monday, the Serbian Defense Ministry announced.
“The first two MiG-29 planes have been transferred to the Serbian Armed Forces. The landing of the An-124 [cargo plane] and reception of the planes at the Batajnica Air Base was attended by Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin, Chief-of-Staff Ljubiša Diković, and anti-air defense Commander Ranko Živak,” the report states.
Vulin told those assembled that, on July 4, Russia had announced its intention to transfer the planes on October 2. “As you can see, this actually happened on October 2, 2017. The remaining four planes will arrive by Friday, and we are proud to say that our Air Force has acquired new machines for the first time since 1987. It is very significant that we are managing to make our army stronger, better organized, and more modern,” he said.
Diković, in turn, called it “a great day, which will strengthen [our] defensive capabilities”, and Živak call it “a historic day for the country’s aviation and anti-air defense”.
On September 30, the republic’s Minister of Defense announced that six MiG-29 fighters, gifted by Russia to Serbia, would arrive in Belgrade by October 20, and would take part in the parade commemorating the liberation of the Serbian capital from the German army.
As support from Russia, Serbia will receive six MiG-29 fighters, 30 T-72 tanks and 30 BRDM-2 combat reconnaissance and patrol vehicles – for free. However, the aircraft will be modernized in three stages, and will cost the republic a total of €180-230 million. The matter of acquiring Buk-M1, Buk-M2 and Tunguska anti-aircraft missile systems is also being discussed. In 2018, Belarus will transfer eight MiG-29 fighters and two Buk missile system divisions to Serbia, on condition that Belgrade pays for their maintenance and modernization.