Serbia to Procure 12 Rafale Fighter Jets From France - M5 Dergi
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Serbia to Procure 12 Rafale Fighter Jets From France

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The Serbian government has announced plans to procure 12 Rafale fighter jets from France as tensions in the Balkan region escalate.

The announcement came after Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic visited Paris earlier this week and held talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

His office said a meeting was also conducted between the Serbian leader and representatives from Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the multi-role fighter aircraft.

“The signing of the contract can be expected in approximately two months, with the presence of the President of France,” Vucic was quoted as saying.

A dual-engine aircraft, the Rafale has state-of-the-art avionics and a weapons payload to support various missions, including ground and sea attack, reconnaissance, and nuclear strike deterrence.

The potential sale of 12 Rafales is estimated to cost around 3 billion euros ($3.26 billion).

Tensions With Kosovo

Serbia has one of the largest militaries in the Balkan region.

It has ramped up defense spending to keep pace with arch-foe Kosovo, which was recently cleared to buy Javelin anti-tank missiles from the US.

Tensions between the two neighboring countries continue, as Belgrade still refuses to recognize Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008.

Frequent clashes have broken out in Kosovo’s northern districts, as Serbs in Kosovo remain loyal to Belgrade.

A Shift Away From Russia

Once a deal is closed, the Rafale sale would mark a significant shift away from Serbia’s traditional weapons supplier, Russia.

The nation remains reliant on Soviet-designed aircraft, including MiG-29 jets and MI-35 helicopter gunships.

It also operates Chinese-made equipment, such as CH-92A tactical armed drones and anti-aircraft missiles.

The sale of French combat jets to Belgrade is predicted to strain its political ties with Moscow.

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