Serbia’s MiG-29 Capacity Finally Begins to Grow

The final Soviet-legacy MiG-29 multirole combat aircraft gifted to Serbia by Russia under a six-aircraft arrangement has completed its overhaul and been returned to Belgrade for entry into Serbian Air Force service.

These MiG-29s were donated by Russia as part of a military-technical cooperation agreement reached with Serbia in late May of 2013. The used Russian fighters were delivered to Serbia in October 2017 and then returned to Russia for a roughly $213-$235 million overhaul program after first completing the necessary customs procedure.

Prior to their overhaul the MiGs were non-operational. The overhaul was funded via an extension of credit to Serbia by Moscow.

The “new” MiG-29s in question – four single-seat variants manufactured in 1989, plus a pair of two-seat UB trainer variants produced in 1990-1991 – now join four single-seat models inherited by Serbia from the former Yugoslav Army. These four Serbian MiG-29s were delivered to the former Yugoslavia in 1987 and were upgraded by the RAC MiG concern between 2007 and 2008. Serviceability issues, however, continued to plague them thus necessitating a Serbian push for additional combat aircraft.

Serbia’s quest for added airpower is not yet complete. According to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic the MiG-29 fleet will grow from 10 to 14 units by the end of March. This time the additional MiGs will come from used stocks supplied by Belarus.

Belarus reportedly signed a military-technical agreement with Serbia on January 26, 2017, in Minsk, that involves a gift of eight surplus MiG-29s from the Belarussian Air Force fleet of single-seat ‘C’ variants.

Support for its growing inventory of Russian-produced aircraft and helicopters will gradually be conducted in-country, with Serbia set to become a regional hub for repair and overhaul of Soviet- and Russian-legacy military aircraft and air-defense materiel.

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

View all posts by Daniel Darling →