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Serbia eyes acquisition of six MiG-29 fighter jets

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World Defense & Security News - Serbia
 
 
Serbia eyes acquisition of six MiG-29 fighter jets
 
Belgrade might buy Russian-originated military equipment, several media outlets say. The country`s government has initiated negotiations with Moscow over the acquisition of six Mikoyan MiG-29 (NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) fighter jets and undisclosed number of Buk (SA-11 Gadfly/SA-17 Grizzly) medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, the Defense News daily said.
     
Serbia eyes acquisition of six MiG 29 fighter jets 640 001A Serbian Air Force MiG-29 fighter jet
(Credit: Krasimir Grosev)
     
The potential procurements may boost military-technical cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia. However, the Serbian officials have complained about shortage of funds that hampers the buying of Russian-originated defense hardware.

The modernization of the national Air Force`s fighter fleet is a bread-and-butter issue for Belgrade. According to the Military Balance 2016 report issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the service operates 47 fighter jets, including 20 MiG-21bis (Fishbed-L), 6 MiG-21UM (Mongol-B), 3 MiG-29 (Fulcrum), 1 MiG-29UB (Fulcrum), and 17 J-22 Orao combat aircraft. Therefore, the Serbia`s fighters are rapidly ageing, and their combat capabilities are decreasing in a drastic manner. The acquisition of the modern MiG-29 combat aircraft from Russia can turn the tide away. However, such buying is costly one. Only overhaul and modernization of the planes that might be bought will require about USD50 million, Defense News said.

The aforementioned media outlets did not specify the variants of MiG-29 fighters and Buk SAM systems, in which Belgrade revealed its interest. At present, the RSK MiG company (a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation, OAK) offers single-seat MiG-29M and twin-seat MiG-29M2 multirole fighter jets to potential foreign customers. According to the official technical specifications, the MiG-29M combat aircraft has a normal take-off-weight of 19,200 kg, a maximum take-off weight of 26,500 kg, a maximum speed near ground of 1,400 km/h, a maximum airspeed of 2,100 km/h, a service ceiling of 16,000 m, a maximum airframe acceleration of 8-9G, and a ferry range of 1,800-2,000 km without additional fuel tanks and 2,800-3,000 km with three additional fuel tanks. MiG-29M features nine hardpoints for air-launched weapons. The fighter can use RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder), R-27R1/R-27EhR1 (AA-10 Alamo), R-27T1/R-27EhT1 (AA-10 Alamo), and R-73Eh (AA-11 Archer) air-to-air (AA) missiles, Kh-29L (AS-14 Kedge), Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton), Kh-35Eh (AS-20 Kayak), and Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) air-to-surface (AS) missiles, KAB-500Kr smart bombs, S-8 unguided rockets, and 100-500 kg free-fall bombs. The fighter features single GSh-30-1 30 mm aircraft automatic cannon. The MiG-29M aircraft is powered by two Klimov RD-33MK jet engine with a take-off thrust of 9,000 kgf each.

The MiG-29M2 modification has a normal take-off-weight of 19,000 kg, a maximum take-off weight of 26,500 kg, a maximum speed near ground of 1,400 km/h, a maximum airspeed of 2,100 km/h, a service ceiling of 16,200 m, a maximum airframe acceleration of 8-9G, and a ferry range of 1,600-1,700 km without additional fuel tanks and 2,650-2,700 km with three additional fuel tanks. The MiG-29M2 combat aircraft features nine hardpoints for air-launched weapons. The fighter can use RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder), R-27R1/R-27EhR1 (AA-10 Alamo), R-27T1/R-27EhT1 (AA-10 Alamo), and R-73Eh (AA-11 Archer) air-to-air (AA) missiles, Kh-29L (AS-14 Kedge), Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton), Kh-35Eh (AS-20 Kayak), and Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) air-to-surface (AS) missiles, KAB-500Kr smart bombs, S-8 unguided rockets, and 100-500 kg free-fall bombs. The fighter features single GSh-30-1 30 mm aircraft automatic cannon. The MiG-29M aircraft is powered by two Klimov RD-33MK jet engine with a take-off thrust of 9,000 kgf each.

The military-technical cooperation between Moscow and Belgrade was not an intense one in previous years. In June 2016, Serbia received two Mil Mi-17V-5 medium transport helicopters worth about USD25 million produced by the Russian Helicopters holding (a subsidiary of the Rostec state corporation). According to Serbian defense analysts, Belgrade needs new MiG-29 or MiG-35 (Fulcrum-F) multirole fighter jets, air-to-air missiles, and new radars. However, the aforementioned financial constraints are supposed to remain actual in the foreseeable future.

     
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