Ceremony to mark 60th anniversary of formation of 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade
A military ceremony to mark the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade Day and the 60th anniversary of its formation was held in the "Banjica" barracks today. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Miloš Vučević and Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, General Milan Mojsilović, attended the ceremony.
Addressing the gathering, Minister Vučević looked back on the history of the Air Defence artillery-missile units that began in 1915, when a Serbian artilleryman, Radoje Raka Ljutovac, shot down an Austro-Hungarian aircraft flying over Kragujevac, using field artillery cannon.
- The heroic deed of this Serbian soldier is a unique event in the world history of warfare, as it is considered the first recorded case of an aircraft being shot down by surface-to-air artillery fire. This historic event symbolically marks the beginning of the development of the service - said Minister Vučević.
Minister Vučević highlighted the 1999 heroic deeds of the 250th Missile Brigade, for which the brigade was awarded the highest military award in 2000 - the Order of the People’s Hero.
- Courage, resourcefulness, skill, high morale and determination to defend the fatherland came to the fore in that difficult year, 1999, during the NATO aggression, when air defence units bravely opposed a far superior aggressor. Their bravery and heroism, and above all the sacrifice they made, will forever remain in our memories, and will be an inspiration, motivation, and obligation for our future endeavours - said the Minister of Defence.
Experiences from modern wars, Minister Vučević said, show that strong air defence can play a decisive role in achieving strategic effects. He said that equipping the armed forces with state-of-the-art means and systems had started since 2020.
- That is why we celebrate the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade Day today, proud of the glorious past and a safe and better future. Over the past year, you have carried out numerous tasks, and I would like to single out your day-to-day task of controlling and protecting the sovereignty of the airspace of the Republic of Serbia, acceptance of the new missile system and putting it into operational use, performing maintenance of principal combat assets and systems, and increasing the level of competence and training - said the minister and added that the achieved results indicated a high level of competence and motivation of personnel to perform specific tasks.
Minister Vučević congratulated unit members on their anniversary, saying that qualified and professional personnel and modern technology were a firm guarantee of free skies over Serbia.
- May you have a clear and calm sky over Serbia and a sharp eye. Honourable members of the 250th Missile Brigade, I want to thank you once again for everything that this brigade has done for our homeland throughout the history, and special thanks to those who laid down the most valuable thing they had, their lives, thus obliging us to protect and defend the homeland - said Minister Vučević.
Acting as representative of the President of the Republic, Minister Vučević presented Brigadier General Tiosav Janković, 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade Commander, with an Order of the White Eagle with Swords, III class, which has been awarded to this brigade by the decree of the President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, for exceptional merit in developing defence system, executing security tasks and protecting the citizens of Serbia.
Brigadier General Janković thanked the minister saying that the decoration was a pledge that the members of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade would remain worthy successors to former members of this unit with glorious history and honourable tradition in their future work. According to him, the brigade has always considered it imperative to provide individuals and crews with top training.
- We have confirmed our knowledge during tactical drills, exercises and live fire exercises. Until 1989, 13 live-fire exercises were conducted at the Ashuluk ranges in the Soviet Union and Cape Kamenjak near Pula. As of 2010, the continuity of live-fire drills has been re-established, and since then, six live-fire exercises have been carried out at the "Shabla" training ground in Bulgaria. In 2021, we managed to execute live firing against aerial targets using the Pantsir S1 system at the Pasuljanska Livada training ground - said Brigadier General Janković, adding that the brigade's most difficult test was the defence of the homeland against NATO aggression.
Brigadier General Janković said that efforts were being made to improve living and working conditions in the unit, and the most important thing for the brigade over the past two years was equipping it with materiel.
- After several decades of stagnation in terms of equipping, in 2020 the "Pantsir S1" artillery-missile system was put into operational use. This year, the FK-3 missile system was also received. As soon as they started using the new systems, our personnel demonstrated great skill and confidence, and became convinced of the new systems’ power and strength. The new missile systems have significantly contributed to the enhancement of the brigade’s combat capability - said the 250th Missile Brigade Commander, adding that obtaining new military equipment would make the brigade even stronger.
After laying wreaths at the Memorial to the Fallen Members of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade and visiting the Memorial Room, Brigadier General Janković presented Minister Vučević with a plaque.
On this occasion, deserving individuals were presented with awards and financial incentives.
Today's ceremony was attended by Air Force and Air Defence Commander, Lieutenant General Duško Žarković, chiefs of organizational units of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, unit commanders and directors of institutions, former brigade commanders and members, as well as the families of the fallen members of the 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade.