Lightning Strike 2021
14.30 President Vučić: The strength of the armed forces reflect the strength of the state
President of the Republic of Serbia and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić congratulated Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović PhD, Chief of General Staff General Milan Mojsilović and all members of the Serbian Armed Forces on successfully executed joint tactical exercises on the temporary training area “Pešter”, which was the largest exercise carried out in last several decades, and which concluded a series of exercises held on eight locations all over our country titled “Lightning Strike 2021”.
- I am very proud of the Serbian Armed Forces. I wish to congratulate all members of the armed forces, Chief of General Staff Mister Mojsilović, Minister of Defence Mister Stefanović, Simović, Žarković, and all these lovely, young people who excellently carried out the exercise – President Vučić emphasised after the exercise.
The President of the Republic underscored that it was the first time that 11 MiG-29s could be seen on our skies, eight of which fired air-to-surface missiles, while other three aircraft had been fully modernised with 110 kilometre range radars.
- With that, the fighter aviation of the Republic of Serbia gained a particular strength, a huge strength. We have never been even close to this power. You saw nine “Eagles” all of which fired guided and non-guided missiles for the first time, and after many years they fired “Maverick” missile – stressed President Vučić.
As the president pointed out, the exercises provided an opportunity to see four “G-4” aircraft as well, which made in total 25 fighters and bombers in the air.
- Only several years ago we had four or five, of significantly lesser and inferior quality, so that even that fact speaks in favour of the increased strength. You saw the new tanks T-72 modernised and equipped, M-84 –our tanks covered with anti-thermal fabric – emphasised President Vučić adding that at the exercise one could also see 11 “Pasars” which fired from 40mm guns, and a battery of “Pantsir” with four weapons, capable of firing 1500 rounds per minute from their 30 millimetre guns.
The President of the Republic underlined that the matter which required additional work and increased efforts were the unmanned aerial vehicles, which had already been procured, and he added that the new were to be ordered.
- The strength of our Armed Forces will be drastically changed and vastly increased in following nine months and I believe that this also shows the strength of the state. This would not be possible if it were not for the greater financial strength of our country – President Vučić assessed.
He expressed particular satisfaction with the fact that KFOR commander attended that day’s exercise and expressed his gratitude to him, adding that we had to cooperate with KFOR units.
The president extended particular gratitude to the warriors and heroes of Košare since almost 240 warriors attended the exercise, seven of which had come from Montenegro.
- Thank you very much, my dear warriors, for your great heart and thank you for being here with us today. I saw the passion with which you observed what was to be seen today. I saw their happiness and satisfaction with the fact that their armed forces are much stronger today, and with the fact that they contributed with both their and their colleagues’ wounds and dedication and with their lives so that we can have immeasurably stronger armed forces today – President Vučić said.
President Vučić stressed that we would continue investing in our armed forces.
- We are not interested in threatening anyone. We are not interested in conflicts or wars, but we are interested in being able to defend our country and our people. There is nothing higher and better than that, and nothing more honourable – underlined President Vučić.
The president drew particular attention to modern and exceptionally well-armed helicopters, particularly to engagement of Mi-35 helicopters using “Ataka” missiles.
- I congratulate all the participants and members of the armed forces, and I congratulate General Mojsilović and Minister Stefanović. I also thank you, President Dodik for being here with us - President Vučić stated expressing his gratitude to the population of Pešter Plateau for their understanding.
President Vučić also expressed his gratitude for the successful execution of the exercise to Assistant Minister of Defence Nenad Miloradović PhD, Army Commander Lieutenant General Milosav Simović and Air Force and Air Defence Commander Lieutenant General Duško Žarković.
At the end of his address the Supreme Commander invited citizens to attend a static display of arms and military equipment of the Serbian Armed Forces to be held in Kragujevac the following day, 28th June.
Chairmen of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik, congratulating on successfully executed exercise, highlighted that a dream had come true, which perhaps had been unreal some ten years before.
- We see that the strength that Serbia possesses in economy has to be followed by the strength of the armed forces, and that Serbia can defend itself against anyone and any ideas to threaten its integrity – Dodik stressed adding that the successfully executed exercise was the proof of high level of training, readiness, and considerable morale and patriotism as well.
Congratulating President Vučić, Dodik pointed out that the efforts of the President of Serbia to strengthen the country were visible every step of the way and in every segment of the society.
Today, on the temporary training ground “Pešter”, more than 2300 members of the Army units, units of the Air Force and Air Defence, 72nd Special Operations Brigade and 63rd Parachute Brigade will demonstrate their resolve and fire power of the Serbian Armed Forces to respond to challenges, risks, and threats to the security of the state, showing the synergy of the joint forces in execution of complex firing tasks and crisis situations, and combat capabilities of the assets from developmental programme of the Ministry of Defence in use of the Serbian Armed Forces.
13:30 "Lightning Strike 2021" showed the power of the Serbian Armed Forces
The Second Army Brigade in coordination with Air Force and Air Defence forces, and special forces executed an assault operation in given direction with the task: to destroy the enemy along the direction of the attack, cause as much losses as possible, force it to withdraw and, gain control of the area of the enemy’s defence, with the following task to introduce fresh forces from reserve and initiate the pursuit of the enemy until complete elimination.
The Army Commander has reinforced the 2nd Army Brigade with BRDM-2M battalion, tank T-72M battalion, 155mm self-propelled gun-howitzers Nora B-52 battalion, infantry company with armoured fighting vehicle “Lazar 3” and two telecommunication mobile commutation nods.
Command-reconnaissance fighting vehicle equipped with multisensory reconnaissance platform MIP-3 has sent a signal to the command post and enabled immediate insight in the situation in the theatre. The command post provides a platoon equipped with the state-of-the-art infantry armament and vehicles with the protection against anti-personnel mines „MRAP" 6x6 and NTV. Rifle sections and sniper teams equipped with new sets of protective ballistic equipment T-19P offering a high degree of protection and new small arms produced by Zastava Arms.
The snipers wear “ghillie” suits and “NightWalker” covers which enable masking within thermal-image spectrum. The soldiers of rifle sections are armed with modernised machinegun 7.62mm, new family of Zastava rifles – Modular sub-machine gun 6.5/7.62mm, semiautomatic sniper rifle M91 7.62mm and grenade launcher 40/6. Sniper teams are armed with Zastava sniper rifles 12.7mm and .388 Lapua Magum. All the arms are equipped with new optical sights.
Hybrid artillery-missile system PASARS has received a radio signal from the modernised reconnaissance-acquisition radar M-85 “Giraffe” positioned on the radar post in the area of Dobro Brdo, and assumed firing elements to engage an unmanned aerial vehicle from 40 millimetre guns.
In the area of Borići, using efficient 30mm guns fire, a “Pantsir S-1” battery neutralised low-flying enemy helicopter. It was followed by engagement of AD systems “Igla” with NTV and “Strela 2M”. After the engagement and achieved air supremacy, a tactical group commander ordered reconnaissance of enemy combat disposition by means of remotely piloted aircraft CH-92 and “Sparrow” which send immediate image of the battle situation to the screens in front of the commander via the mobile commutation nod.
Armoured reconnaissance patrol in BRDM-2MS vehicles has gathered information on the strength of enemy forces within covering force and it also detected the front end of enemy defence. Then six remotely controlled combat platforms “Small Miloš” joint the engagement firing from machineguns and rocket launchers.
The third sequence of the exercise included fire preparation of the assault where the Artillery of the Serbian Armed Forces “softened” enemy defence. This task was performed by an artillery group consisting of two self-propelled gun-howitzer artillery batteries with 155mm „Nora-B52", artillery missile group of self-propelled multi-barrel rocket launchers “Oganj” digitalised 128mm and “Oganj” modular, launcher “Morava”, and self-propelled howitzer artillery battery of 122mm modernised “Gvozdik” with a 120mm mortar company.
Introducing modernised artillery weapons, telecommunication and command-information systems and equipment, created conditions so that in seven minutes of artillery preparation for the assault, more than 500 projectiles can be fired into the target area, or more than 20 tons of steel and explosives delivered on the enemy.
At request of the tactical group commander, engagement of fighter aviation and helicopters on the front end of enemy forces was approved. First, 11 MiG-29 aeroplanes were introduced tasked to “clear” the air space and to act as fighter protection group for combat aircraft.
After the destruction of enemy AD forces, favourable conditions have been created for the engagement of fighter-bomber aviation against elements of enemy combat disposition.
The aircraft individually reached the target area hedge hopping, using the terrain configuration to avoid enemy AD. The aircraft flew to the target area at required height to create optimal conditions for aeroplane “Orao” to engage using missiles and devastating air bombs. Another aeroplane to engage the targets was “Super Galeb” G-4.
After the detection of enemy telecommunications centre, fighter helicopters Mi-35 assumed the task to fire “Ataka” missiles against it.
Helicopters Mi-17 and H-145 engaged enemy mechanised line in the targeted area using non-guided missiles S-8, after which “Gamas” attacked armoured enemy targets using guided “Malyutka” type missiles.
After the theatre conditions had been created, tactical group units came to the line of deployment and launched the attack. Along the main direction of the attack, anti-armour actions were taken by two mechanised platoons and POLO platoon M83 while tanks M-84, M84-AS1 and T-72MS fired from 125mm guns from great distances. Concurrently with the tank fire, enemy infantry was targeted by a support platoon from the infantry company12.7mm long-range rifles.
Tank companies in M-84 and T-72MS tanks with a mechanised platoon in Infantry fighting vehicles M80A and mechanised platoon in modernised BVP M-80A operated in coordination with “Lazar 3” with the task to destroy enemy defensive power and reach as soon as possible the assault position.
The tactical group forces carried out the commander’s idea for the infantry company to envelop enemy’s right flank, while the forces along the main assault direction would conduct the frontal assault, and one mechanised platoon on the right flank would create a false impression of the intention to envelop the enemy’s left flank.
After the manoeuvring units had reached the assault position, the combat formation was consolidated. Commanders of infantry and mechanised companies ordered the soldiers of mechanised and infantry sections to dismount from IFV M80A and “Lazar 3” supported by 20 and 30mm gun fire and coaxial machineguns.
During the attack, with combination of firing and energetic movement the forces of the Serbian Armed Forces destroyed the enemy forces along their direction. The breach through the depth of defence was executed by wedging in the gaps and penetrating through less defended positions, not allowing the enemy to detach, consolidate and organise resistance again.
In order to gain control of communications and prevent the enemy from inserting fresh forces, one parachute company landed from helicopters Mi-17 and H-145M. After landing, the special forces joined the forces on the fringes of landing zone and continued clearing the area neutralising the remaining enemy groups.
In the meantime, a counterterrorist team from Special Operations battalion “Hawks” neutralised enemy forces in an inhabited area represented by house models.
The enemy is destroyed and tactical group commander introduced reserve in order to organise in-depth battle and pursuit of the enemy.
The end of the exercise was marked by the parachute jump by the paratroopers of the 63rd Parachute Brigade who unfolded the flags of the Republic of Serbia and Serbian Armed Forces above Pešter.
12.00 President Vučić has arrived on Pešter – the Exercise starts!
President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić has arrived on the temporary training area “Pešter“ where he received the rapport in front of the ceremonial formation of the Guard. President Vučić was welcomed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović PhD and Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces General Milan Mojsilović.
The exercise is attended by state and military leadership of the Republic of Serbia, representatives of the diplomatic corps and military-diplomatic corps, religious communities, local self-government and 231 veteran of the Battle of Košare.
The Exercise Director is Brigadier General Želјko Kuzmanović, Commander of the Second Army Brigade.
After familiarisation with tactical suppositions, the Supreme Commander gave the order to start the exercise.
11.00 AM Minister Stefanović and General Mojsilović Arrived on Pešter
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović PhD and Chief of General Staff of Serbian Armed Forces General Milan Mojsilović arrived on temporary training ground “Pešter” where the largest joint tactical exercise in the series of Serbian Armed Forces exercise “Lightning Strike 2021” is about to begin.
Minister Stefanović and General Mojsilović were welcomed by the Army Commander Lieutenant General Milosav Simović and Air Force and Air Defence Commander Lieutenant General Duško Žarković who informed the leading officials of the defence system about the units’ readiness to commence the exercise.
“Lightning Strike”, the largest exercise carried out in Serbia in last several decades, started on 15th June, upon the order of the President of Serbia and Supreme Commander Aleksandar Vučić, by checking combat readiness of commands and units.
After alerting more than 15,000 members of the Serbian Armed Forces, eight training grounds all over Serbia were the venue for a series of tactical exercises carried out over the last several days only to be an introduction into today’s joint life firing exercise.
Today, on the temporary training ground “Pešter”, more than 2300 members of the Army units, units of the Air Force and Air Defence, 72nd Special Operations Brigade and 63rd Parachute Brigade will demonstrate their resolve and fire power of the Serbian Armed Forces to respond to challenges, risks, and threats to the security of the state, showing the synergy of the joint forces in execution of complex fire tasks and crisis situations, and combat capabilities of the assets from developmental programme of the Ministry of Defence in use of the Serbian Armed Forces.
10.30 AM Air Forces Ready to Take Off
The Air Force and Air Defence of the Serbian Armed Forces brought the fighter, bomber and transport aviation, and helicopter units into the state of readiness, on the airfields “Colonel Pilot Milenko Pavlović“ and “Morava” where they are waiting for the order to take off and be engaged on the temporary training ground “Pešter“.
Modernised fighter MiG-29 takes off from the airfield in Batajnica during the final day of “Lightning Strike” to execute his task of establishing air space superiority and patrolling, and at the order of the Exercise Commander, it will be ready to engage the targets on the ground.
“Eagle” type aeroplanes will take off from the military airfield in Lađevci tasked to support the land operation from the air. The aircraft will engage the targets on the ground using “Maverick” guided missiles and air bombs FAB-250 of great destructive power. The ground targets will also be targeted by training aeroplane “Galeb G-4”.
The efficiency of engaging surrounded targets will be demonstrated by Mi-35 helicopter using “Ataka” missiles and guided S-8 rockets. This is aircraft which is deemed to be the very world top in the field of anti-armour combat and immediate fire support. The crew of “Gama” helicopter will demonstrate their firing skill using “Malyutka” missiles.
Airbus helicopters H-145M, Mi-8 and Mi-17, as well as transport aeroplane An-26 will play their part in several sequences of the complex assault operation.
The air reconnaissance of enemy distribution will be executed by remotely piloted aircraft CH-92 and “Sparrow”. The image taken by CH-92 will, through the use of telecommunication-information system integrated in mobile commutation knot, be distributed to command post and made available to the exercise command in real time. This aircraft will, upon commander’s decision, be able to engage by laser guided missiles on targets in enemy combat disposition.
A specific role will be played by aeroplane N-62T “Super Galeb” target tug which is to pull a target “Rukavac” that will be fired at by PASARS battery using 40 mm guns.
9.00 Troops Are Ready Waiting for Command
The Army units, units of the Air Force and Air Defence, 72nd Special Operations Brigade and 63rd Parachute Brigade are in full readiness to execute the joint tactical exercise on the temporary training ground “Pešter” on the theme “Reinforced tactical group in execution of an assault operation”. The exercise will demonstrate the resolve and fire capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces to respond to challenges, risks and threats to security of the state, the synergy of the joint forces in the execution of complex firing tasks and crisis situations and combat capabilities of the assets from developmental programme of the Ministry of Defence in use of the Serbian Armed Forces.
The units, the main body of which is the 2nd Brigade with assigned elements from other Army units, 72nd Special Operations Brigade and 63rd Parachute Brigade in coordination with Air Force and Air Defence units, carried out final preparations early in the morning and they are waiting for the command to start the exercise.
The state-of-the-art assets of the Army together with combat systems developed by our defence industry will demonstrate their fire power and manoeuvring capabilities in front of the state leadership, and citizens of Serbia who will have an opportunity to watch a live television broadcast of the exercise conducted on Pešter on the First Channel of the RTS.
Crews of tank T-72 MS will for the first time present to the public their combat capabilities with the use of modern optoelectronic and sighting systems that make the equipment of this combat vehicle. Modernised armoured fighting vehicles BRDM-2M will also appear. These vehicles have recently arrived together with the tanks from the Russian Federation. The task of the armoured units will be to break enemy forces’ defence by means of heavy fire and resolute manoeuvre.
Mechanised Infantry in vehicles “Lazar 3”, “Miloš”, “MRAP 6x6” and "NTV”, which are products of national defence industry, will play the role of covering force. Of course, there will also be armoured transporters BVP-M80A and BOV.
Fire support to the assault operation will be provided by self-propelled gun-howitzers 155mm Nora B-52, digitalised self-propelled multi-barrel rocket launchers 128mm “Oganj”, battery of modular self-propelled multi-barrel rocket launchers 128mm “Oganj” M-18, launcher “Morava” and modernised self-propelled howitzers 122mm “Gvozdika” and 120mm mortars. The fire efficiency of these assets has been significantly enhanced by development of new systems for surveillance and fire management which has manifoldly reduced the time from the occupation of firing position to readiness to engage.
The fire power against air targets and low flying aircraft will be demonstrated by artillery missile battery “Pantsir” C-1, two batteries of hybrid artillery-missile system “PASARS” and light AD system “Needle” mounted on NTV vehicles and well known system “Strela” 2M. Manoeuvers and occupying position for engagement will be demonstrated by self-propelled missile battery of modernised system KUB.