Serbia plans to buy Rafale fighters

Serbia buy Rafale France
French Air Force Rafale multirole combat aircraft.

The Serbian Air Force is considering buying Rafale fighters from France and has informed the country’s president, Defense Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said on December 28.

Earlier this month, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced a € 500 million ($ 566 million) increase in the country’s € 1.1 billion defense budget in 2022 for equipment and weapons additional.

"The modernization of the Serbian fighter jet fleet is a costly undertaking which must be considered strategically. The Air Force told the president it was currently more inclined to buy the French-made Rafale. But once we have completed a full analysis, let’s see what the army chooses," Stefanovic told Radio Television Serbia.

Serbia's interest in French-made fighters has likely intensified following Croatia's recent purchase of 12 second-hand Rafales. The territorial war that involved Croatia and Serbia in the 90s after the collapse of Yugoslavia left deep marks and relations between the two nations remained tense. Recent statements made by Croatian and Serbian authorities suggest that they have started an arms race.

Following the agreement for the Rafale, the Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic said that "This will not only give us the ability to avert those who have any aspirations toward our territory but also to became so-called exporters of stability."

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic promptly replied saying that "Those who like to act as if they are the strongest, they still don't know that something is coming to Serbia soon, and will arrive much sooner that what they are annuncing."

Currently the backbone of the Serbian Air Force consists of a dozen recently modernized MiG-29 fighters that the nation is planning to replace with modern combat aircraft. The Serbian government is also considering buying Su-30SM fighters offered by Russia.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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