|Boeing T-7A Red Hawk. It is being evaluated by Serbia as a replacement for the G-4 Super Galeb and SOKO J-22 Orao light attack aircraft.|
A senior Serbian government official said last year that the Boeing T-7A light combat/trainer aircraft tops the nation's wish list as a replacement for the Serbian Air Force SOKO G-4 Super Galeb and SOKO J-22 Orao light attack aircraft.
According to the acting assistant minister for material resources in the Serbian defence ministry, Nenad Miloradović, the nation is looking to procure 20 T-7A jets in the light combat variant as it boasts "excellent characteristics and capabilities".
Miloradović said Serbia was attracted by the combination of the T-7A's price and performance, noting that the country is looking for options that cost about half the current fourth-generation platforms and that have capabilities between those of the current attack [G-4 and J-22] and combat [MiG-29] aircraft of the Serbian Air Force.
"These are the initial steps in developing new capabilities as no such capital acquisition is realized overnight," Miloradovic said. "The [T-7A] aircraft itself is supersonic and features modern avionics, and as such would be able to entirely replace our ground attack aviation and being multirole would also be able to support our [MiG-29 Fulcrum] interceptors."
Boeing is currently focused on developing the advanced training variant of the Red Hawk for the USAF, however, the company's future plans also include commercializing the jet fighter variant. The American giant has already announced that it intends to offer the T-7A to international customers looking for a replacement for "T-5 Tiger II class" aircraft.
Serbia's choice of the T-7A will be largely driven by timing. It is currently unclear when Boeing will be able to market the fighter variant of its new jet, but considering the development time and the high number of aircraft it will first have to manufacture for the USAF, Serbia will have to wait several more years.
Although Belgrade has already approved modernization programs for both G-4 and J-22 aircraft, their operational life will end within a few years. The strong need for new attack jets by the Serbian Air Force could lead the nation to prioritize platforms from other manufacturers.
Boeing's policy is very aggressive, it aims to sell over 2,700 Red Hawks globally. In addition to Serbia, the company is also targeting Australia as a potential international customer.
Written by Matteo Sanzani