President Vučić: We continue to strengthen our armed forces because freedom is the supreme value of our people, our nation and our country
Today, the President of the Republic of Serbia and the Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, accompanied by the Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin and the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilović, visited members of the 3rd Missile Battalion of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade in the “Major Milan Tepić” Barracks in Jakovo, on the day when an F16 plane was shot down during the NATO aggression on our country 21 years ago.
- Today, I am particularly proud that we are in the 3rd Battalion of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade. I am particularly proud of the fact that this is the brigade that shot down an F16 aircraft 21 years ago today. The legendary commander Tiosav Janković who did that is also here. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the name of the Third Missile Battalion was abolished so as not to remind us of the allegedly infamous past. We consider this to be a glorious, heroic past, so we returned the Third Missile Battalion its name - said President Vučić.
During the visit, the President also referred to some of the air defence assets that the Serbian Armed Forces have, which he visited today.
- We are in the hangars in Jakovo, where you can see the most modern and state-of-the-art anti-aircraft systems, which we own for the first time. These are Pantsir S1 systems. You could have seen this system before we had it, and now it is in our possession. Our men are trained to use it and it is the result of a remarkable cooperation with the Russian Federation. It is a system that can engage targets at an altitude of 15 kilometres and a range of 20 kilometres, and it has the capability to fire 12 missiles, it can engage four targets simultaneously, and it also has two 30 mm anti-aircraft guns. It can also engage other targets and drones, even ground targets. It is an extremely efficient system - said the Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces.
According to him, our Air Force and Air Defence is 10 times more powerful today than during the NATO aggression.
- The performance of our Neva and Kub systems cannot be compared to the performance of Pantsir, no matter how much we modernize and construct them. In any case, this is a great support for the protection of our cities, our important facilities, and the entire region. We continue to strengthen our armed forces because freedom is the supreme value of our people, our nation and our country. We don't want to attack anyone, but with this, we guarantee a safe future for our children.
This is the result of the great changes in our economy, an extraordinary and accelerated progress of the Republic of Serbia so that now we can afford this. Our sky is ten times safer today than it was 21 years ago - said President Vučić.
According to him, new unmanned aerial vehicles are expected in the Serbian Armed Forces soon, and in the autumn, President Vučić announced, the largest exercise of our Air Force will be performed at the Pešter training ground.
- Soon we are also expecting new unmanned aerial vehicles that we have talked about, which are becoming the most modern form of warfare and exercise and what is important, in October we will conduct the largest exercise of our Air Force at Pešter, where all our air defence systems and our planes will be engaged and we will show tremendous strength and something that you could not see in Serbia until now - said President Vučić.
He stressed that Serbia is “a respectable military force in accordance with the population and its territory, but incomparably stronger than it was before."
- We are proud of our heroes and fighters. A few moments ago, Brigadier General Radivojević told me that young soldiers proved to be extraordinary in this crisis and that as many as 80 percent of them want to stay in the Serbian Armed Forces. That is great news and an important thing for us. It would be good and I am convinced that manning of the First and Second Brigades will be even better, and the Third and Fourth Brigades are excellent. The military has done an exceptionally good job, a tremendous job during the coronavirus epidemic, and I am convinced that they have once again boosted our people’s confidence in the military - said the President of Serbia.
The Commander of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade, General Tiosav Janković says that the brigade he commands is characterized by a high level of professional competence, high morale and a good technical functionality.
-- The dedication and equating personnel with materiel is well known. Today, I am particularly pleased to say that after decades of interruption in the provision of advanced air defence assets, the strength of 250th Missile Brigade and the 3rd Missile Battalion is increased by one Pantsir S1 battery. In this way, our combat abilities are immeasurably greater, and the combat abilities and operational capabilities of the brigade have been significantly improved - General Janković said, adding that the Pantsir S1 artillery missile system is the best and most modern in its class and that the men working on this system are highly trained and capable of using it in carrying out their assigned tasks.
In memory of today's visit, Commander of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade, Brigadier General Janković, handed over to the President of the Republic and the Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, a Plaque with the original part of the “stealth” F-117 A aircraft which was shot down by the 3rd Air Defence Missile Battalion on 27th March, 1999.
Members of the Serbian Armed Forces were visited today by the Acting Assistant Minister for Material Resources Nenad Miloradović, the Commander of Air Force and Air Defence, Major General Duško Žarković and the Acting Commander of the Training Command, Brigadier General Jelesije Radivojevic.