Minister Vulin: Starting from today, Serbia is the owner of four more MiG-29 planes
A delegation of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia and Air Force and Air Defence of the Serbian Armed Forces, led by Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin, attended the handover of four Belarus planes MiG-29 held in the 558th Aeronautical plant in Baranovitch. Starting from today, the “MiGs” are formally as well the ownership of the Republic of Serbia and they will arrive in our country after the overhaul has been finished which was initiated in the Belarus overhaul facility on 22nd February.
“These are four planes that are owned by the state of Serbia, Ministry of Defence and Air Force. We can freely say that from this day we possess 14 “MiG 29” planes, which is a number that we could not even dream of back in 2012 when President Vučić became the minister of defence. At this time his personal relations with President Lukashenko have proved their importance, and we are standing here today in front of the four planes that are the fruit of a contract on military-technical cooperation and assistance from Belarus to Serbia” stated Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vuli following the takeover of the Belarus planes.
It has been agreed that the overhaul and the first phase of modernisation of “MiG 29” will be finished in the Belarus 558th Aeronautical facility in Baranovitch. Speaking about the deadlines, Minister Vulin pointed out that they had been agreed upon and precise and that our side was satisfied with the dynamic.
“We estimate that we will finish the first phase in the shortest time possible, and then the second and the phase of modernisation. We will have 14 “MiGs” at the level of 4+ generation meaning that they are among the most modern planes in the world. Our Air Force has not been so strong for decades, and our pilots can now count on having flight hours like at the time of the JNA, and they can count on operating the most state-of-the-art assets, and our sky and our Serbia will be safe, free and independent. This is a great day for the state of Serbia, a great day for our Air Force” stated Minister Vulin.
The handover of the planes MiG-29 was also attended by AF and AD Commander Major General Duško Žarković who emphasised that Serbian pilots were prepared for four more planes.
“We have a sufficient number of pilots, we are raising their level of competence and we are ready to receive these four planes. Concurrently with the reception of thee planes, in Serbia, we have the planes used for the training. Lately, we conducted training for five pilots who were retrained abroad, and two pilots who completed their retraining in the 204th Air Force Brigade” General Žarković pointed out.
“In the year in which we celebrate 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belarus and Serbia founded on confidence, respect and support, we also mark the five years since the establishment of ties between the ministries of defence. I am proud of the fact that our defence cooperation is highly intensive and that we are attending today the ceremonial handover of the “MiGs-29”, stated the Chief of Armament Staff of the Belarus Ministry of Defence Major General Andrei Fedin.
General Fedin underscored that Serbian and Belarus soldiers actively participated in joint military exercises and international military games, preparations for missions abroad.
“We highly appreciate our military ties with Serbia and we will continue developing them. We, the Belarus, perceive Serbia as brotherly and friendly country and we will gladly help our brotherly country develop its defensive power. I wish that the “MiGs” take to the sky only for training and celebrations” stated General Fedin.
President of the State Military Industry Committee Roman Alexandrovich Golovchenko said that the 558th Aeronautical plant would do all to increase the potential and combat power in the agreed timeframe of the “MiGs 29” handed over today to the Ministry of Defence of Serbia. He added that it was very important day for the Plant since it was a very significant step towards strengthening of the relations between the two countries. Golovchenko hoped that those four MiGs 29 would be a visible part of Serbia’s shield for the protection of its independence and sovereignty.
In previous two weeks, an expert team of the Ministry of Defence and Serbian Armed Forces, together with their Belarus colleagues from the Ministry of Defence, AO “Belteheksport” and the 558th overhaul facility, conducted the reception of four MiG-29 planes with accompanying kits of ground equipment. The planes were immediately sent for general overhaul and modification of equipment in order to be equipped like other 10 planes which now protect the sky of Serbia. The Belarus “MiGs” have double patrolling time in comparison to older versions of MiG-29.
The technical state and available resources of the planes which are in their first third of serviceability, and the condition of their vital aggregates, assemblies and systems show that until now, they have been maintained and exploited in line with stipulated technical norms and with great care and that they represent a high quality platform for the continuation of their exploitation and their further modernisation.
At the airport, Minister Vulin was seen off by his Belarus colleague Lieutenant General Andrei Alekseyevich Ravkov.