Four Russian-made Mi-35 and three Mi-17 military transport helicopters will arrive for the Serbian Air Force in the first quarter of 2020, Serbia’s Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said in an interview with RTS television channel on Monday, following his visit to Moscow.
"The agreement on military and technical cooperation between the two supreme commanders-in-chief — [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and [Serbian] President [Aleksandar] Vucic is being implemented extremely successfully," Serbia’s defense chief said.
"We have entered the second out of three stipulated modernization, repair and armament delivery stages. We have provided for the unimpeded delivery of 10 BRDM-2 [combat reconnaissance and patrol] vehicles and we have talked with [Russian Defense Minister Sergei] Shoigu on a new delivery. In compliance with the plan, tanks will also arrive. Also, in the first half of the first quarter of next year, we will take the delivery of four Mi-35 and three Mi-17 helicopters," he stated.
Cooperation between Serbia and Russia is well underway, the Serbian defense minister stressed.
"We have never had such a volume of cooperation. Since World War II, we have not held such a number of joint activities, drills. We will continue interacting in the sphere of drills, exchange of military experience and military education. This is very fruitful cooperation in accordance with the policy of military neutrality," he noted.
In October 2018, the Serbian Air Force received six MiG-29 fighter jets handed over by Russia as part of military and technical assistance.
Throughout the current year, Russia will deliver 10 helicopters to Serbia: seven Mi-35 and three Mi-17 rotorcraft. Serbia was also expected to get 30 T-72 tanks and 30 BRDM-2 reconnaissance and patrol vehicles from Russia for free. Serbia is also holding talks with Russia on Buk-M1 and Buk-M2 air defense missile systems and Tunguska anti-aircraft missile/gun weapons.
Last week, the Serbian defense minister said during his visit to the Russian Helicopters Group’s enterprise in Rostov-on-Don that the Mi-35 helicopters were the world’s best in their class and would considerably strengthen the combat capability of the Balkan country’s armed forces.