Rafale Acquisition will Not Affect Serbia's Neutrality: Serbian MoD

Last week, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic signed a deal with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to purchase 12 Rafale jets.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 04:10 AM, April 15, 2024
  • 1073
Rafale Acquisition will Not Affect Serbia's Neutrality: Serbian MoD
Rafale fighter

Serbia has asserted that its potential acquisition of Rafale fighter jets from France will not affect its neutrality.

In response to opinions expressed by certain sections in the country, the Serbian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has stated that the introduction of the Rafale into the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence’s fleet will ensure the long-term protection of the airspace of the Republic of Serbia.

“Our country’s proclaimed neutrality refers to the determination of the Republic of Serbia not to join any existing military alliances and to make all decisions pertaining to defense independently and to assume full responsibility for them,” according to a statement by the Serbian MoD.

Last week, the President and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, signed a deal with French President Emmanuel Macron on the purchase of 12 Rafale fighter jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation.

"Therefore, we believe that the opinions expressed in public that the said acquisition is an alleged violation of neutrality on the part of the Republic of Serbia are entirely unfounded and incompetent, and that the only reason for making such public statements is to generate publicity in an artificial manner and mislead the public," a MoD statement said.

The statement added that over the past few years, the Republic of Serbia has made a number of purchases of modern aircraft, air defense missile systems, radars, combat vehicles, electronic systems, and other equipment from various countries, including the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, the United States of America, Spain, and France.

Serbia's military largely inherited its inventory from the former Yugoslav Republic, a mix of locally made hardware and sophisticated systems from the former Soviet Union. After the Cold War and Yugoslavia's breakup, Serbia relied on aging Russian systems, requiring ongoing Russian support. This reliance stemmed partly from historical alignment with Moscow and a wary stance toward NATO following the 1999 Kosovo War.

Recently, Serbia has shown interest in diversifying its military capabilities. In 2016, it procured nine Airbus H145M helicopters, and from 2020 onwards, it acquired drones from China's CASC Rainbow family. In 2022, Serbia signed an agreement with Spain for two Airbus C-295 transport aircraft.

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