Iraqi air force receives second batch of Serbian Lasta 95 trainers

Belgrade
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Serbian minister of defence Dragan Sutanovac revealed during a visit to Iraq on 5 August that a second batch of Lasta 95 piston-engined primary trainers has been delivered to the Iraqi air force.

Sutanovac also said that Iraq is interested in negotiating with Serbia on the "reconstruction of an airbase", the building of a military hospital and the purchase of "all calibre of munitions".

The first Lasta 95 for Iraq was flown in November 2009, 10 months after the Serbian prototype. The first two batches, each of three aircraft, have reportedly been shipped to Iraq. The Serbian defence ministry says the remainder are scheduled for delivery before the end of the year.

 
© Igor Salinger/Aeromedia.com

According to initial reports, Serbia was to supply Iraq with up to 35 Lasta 95s as part of a wider, $235 million arms export deal forged by the ministry of defence and state arms export company Yugoimport-SDPR in December 2007.

The number of aircraft was subsequently adjusted to 20, with the remaining 15 aircraft being allocated to the Serbian air force to replace Utva 75 basic trainers.

Iraq requested that its aircraft be equipped with two hardpoints for light attack duties and targeting practice. Serbian air force deputy commander-in-chief Brg Gen Sreto Malinovic has said that the first four Serbian examples are to be delivered by year-end, followed by six aircraft next year and five in 2012.

The Lasta project dates to the mid-1980s when the aircraft was designed for the former Yugoslav air force.