Speaking on national TV on 25 July, a senior Serbian government official said that the SOKO G-4 Super Galeb (Super Seagull) advance trainer and light attack platform, the SOKO J-22 Orao (Eagle) ground attack jets and Soviet-era Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft are due for retirement.
Serbia is interested in acquiring 20 Boeing-Saab T-7A jets, the acting assistant minister for material resources in the Serbian defence ministry, Nenad Miloradović, said. He added that the T-7A, which is being developed as a trainer for the US Air Force (USAF) and marketed as a potential light fighter/attack solution for the international market, possesses “excellent characteristics and capabilities”.
Serbia is deepening its political dialogue and cooperation with NATO on issues of common interest, with an important focus on support for democratic, institutional and defense reforms. Unlike other Western Balkan partners, Serbia does not aspire to join the Alliance.
Serbia – along with 5 other Western Balkans countries – was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council summit in 2003. In 2008, a European partnership for Serbia was adopted, setting out priorities for the country’s membership application, and in 2009 Serbia formally applied.
Miloradović explained that Serbia was attracted by the combination of the T-7A’s price and its performance, noting that the country is looking at options that are about half the price of current fourth-generation platforms and whose capabilities are included ground attack, aerial patrolling, air-to-air combat mission and close air support mission. The low acquisition and maintenance cost of T-7A attracted Serbia to procure T-7A over FA-50 and M-346FA.
Serbia’s parliament declared the country militarily neutral in 2007, shortly before the then province of Kosovo declared independence in February 2008 with the backing of the major Western powers. Serbia and NATO aim to improve public information on NATO-Serbia cooperation. The NATO Military Liaison Office in Belgrade plays an important role in this process.
These are the initial steps in developing new capabilities as no such capital acquisition is realised overnight”, Miloradović explained. “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 interceptors.
About T-7A RedHawk
The T-7A will include stadium seating, an advanced cockpit and digital fly-by-wire flight controls, according to Boeing. It employs a General Electric F404 engine and has a wingspan of 30.60 feet, a length of 46.93 feet and a height of 13.55 feet. The T-7A can carry air-to-air missiles, small diameter bombs and air-to-ground missiles.
The platform “is very easy to fly and I think with all the modern avionics that we have in it, flying is kind of the easy part,” he said. “Historically, just trying to fly the airplane was enough … to demonstrate if the student has the capability to fly fast jets. But now I think this aircraft is easy [enough] to fly that we … [can] task them with tactical scenarios.”
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