Serbia looks set to become the latest customer for the Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter, with an order for a dozen examples to be finalised in the coming months.

During an official two-day visit to France, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he discussed the proposed acquisition of 12 Rafales with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and officials from Dassault.

Rafale-c-Dassault Aviation

Source: Dassault Aviation

Serbia hopes to take a dozen examples of French multi-role fighter

“We reached agreements on the purchase of Rafale fighter jets,” says Vucic, whose comments were reported on the Serbian presidency’s official pages.

“The signing of the contract can be expected in approximately two months, with the presence of the president of France,” he adds.

Belgrade’s current combat aircraft inventory comprises 17 locally-built Soko J-22 ground-attack jets and 11 Russian-made RAC MiG-29s, FlightGlobal’s World Air Forces 2024 directory records.

Should the deal be concluded it will mark the latest export success for the multi-role French fighter, which already counts Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as customers.

As of 31 December 2023, total Rafale orders stood at 495 – 234 for France and 261 for export customers – while the undelivered backlog was 211 aircraft. That total has since risen, with the addition of another 18 units in January for Indonesia.

Serbia’s neighbour Croatia is also in the process of modernising its fighter fleet, taking 12 ex-French air force Rafales. A first example was handed over in October last year and Zagreb now has five units in service, Cirium fleets data shows.

Due to its troubled history, Serbia has in recent years sourced arms from both Western suppliers and from those in Russia and China. For example, while it has acquired a fleet of armed Airbus Helicopters H145Ms it has also bought Chinese-made drones.