Serbian air force targets fleet modernisation

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The Serbian air force intends to modernise up to 15 Soko G-4 Super Galeb trainers, and is making plans for the purchase of a new multirole combat aircraft.

The "G4-MD" upgrade is aimed at extending the trainers' service life until 2030, says air force commander-in-chief Gen Dragan Katanic.

The aircraft, which can be used for training and light-attack missions, will be fitted with new avionics systems, multifunctional flight displays, head-up displays, hands-on throttle and stick controls, integrated mission computers, distance measuring equipment, GPS-based navigation systems, identification friend or foe, navigation/communication units, mission recorders, and VHF omni-range and instrument landing systems.

serbian air force super galeb
 © Igor Salinger

Integration of guided weapons, countermeasures and targeting systems is also scheduled as part of the upgrade, which will cost €4-5 million ($6.2-7.8 million) per trainer.

Dragan Sutanovac, Serbia's defence minister, has meanwhile revealed that his ministry is conducting an analysis of combat aircraft needs with a view to purchasing a new multirole type. The air force intends to launch a selection process in 2011 and complete it by 2014, says Katanic, who has also previously said that "one to two" Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters will be purchased in 2009.

To bridge gaps in pilot training, the air force has been bringing out of retirement its RSK MiG-29s. All five are due back in service by the end of the year.

Air force officials claim that over the past three years flight hours have sextupled and aircraft serviceability has doubled.