In October 2017, Russia delivered to Serbia six MiG-29 fighters under the military-technical aid program. Yesterday, the Serbian Air Force received two modernized six-handed fighters. The Serbian pilot Borisa Mandic shared his impressions after flying one of these planes.
The solemn ceremony to introduce the two fighters into the Serbian Air Force took place at the Batajnica airfield near the Serbian capital Belgrade and was attended by President Aleksandar Vucic and the Russian ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Chepurin.
While no Serbian politician in the ruling coalition would today readily admit, Serbia is engaged in a quiet arms race, as it prepares for any number of scenarios. NATO and the US have been pressuring The Republic of Bosnia & Herzegovina (B&H) to radically change its constitution. The result would be a unitary state, in which the ‘Republika Srpska’ (The Serbian Republic), an autonomous mostly Orthodox Christian semi-state of Serbs inside of B&H would be entirely under increasingly Islamicist rule by Sarajevo.
In such an event, Lavrov remarked as early as 2014, that Russia would recognize any referendum process initiated by Bosnian Serbs to fully break away from a centralized state. However, this would mark a tremendously increased destabilization in the region.
The ultimate aim here would be to re-unify the ‘Serbian Republic’ with the UN recognized nation-state the ‘Republic of Serbia’, with its capital in Belgrade.
Meanwhile, Albanian extremists continue to push, with US sponsoring, its campaign of ethnic and historical cleansing of Serbs from the occupied Serbian region of Kosovo. Likewise, Russia recognizes this occupied region as an integral part of Serbia. Historically, Serbia is oft referred to as a ‘Malorossiya’ of sorts. During the great power rivalry conflicts of the 19th century, it was understood even then that a single, strong, unified Serbian state with access to the Adriatic, was nothing short of an extension of Great Russia itself.
There are several US sponsored ‘independence movements’ within the already small Serbian nation, to break the country up further. At one time, Serbia was united with five other now independent states, in what was known as Yugoslavia. It broke apart at about the same time as the USSR, for similar reasons. Unlike Russia, with its large core, Serbia was unable to withstand the all-out assault by several former Yugoslav states, supported by the US, NATO, and EU.
Serbs are the most pro-Russian people in the Balkans, and the two languages have a degree of inter-intelligibility.
Regarding the ceremony introducing to the two fighters, an experienced Serbian pilot gave his opinions on the quality of the aircraft.
Supersonic fighter pilot and instructor Borisa Mandic explained how he piloted one of the MiG-29s and shared his impressions of the characteristics of the modernized fighter.
According to Mandic, the MiG-29 gives great possibilities to its pilot, allowing “to perform any maneuvers and overcome any limitations”.
“I have piloted both the MiG-21 and the MiG-29, and I can tell you that the difference between them is enormous: they are different in power, maneuverability, take-off,” said the Serbian pilot.
Mandic recalls that the MiG-29 was based on the MiG-21: the good features of the last good were perfected and raised to the highest level.
“That’s why the MiG-29 is considered to be the best military aircraft in its class,” he added.
“Any specialist will confirm that the MiG-29 is the best, toughest, most dependable and reliable aircraft in the world. It has two powerful engines, the flight characteristics are indubitable with the pilot being able to feel comfortable inside,” he continued to explain.
However, to fly in such an airplane it is necessary to undergo serious training, notes the pilot. In addition to meeting stringent medical requirements, a MiG-29 pilot must have good psycho-physical and theoretical preparation and have many hours of flight. To test the skills of future pilots, overload simulators, centrifuges and isobaric chambers are used.
“The possibility of flying in a MiG-29 is the career culmination of a military pilot. We were lucky to be able to fly a plane so perfect, almost able to surpass the laws of physics and aerodynamics, overcoming gravity,” he concluded.
Today’s Serbian military is larger than NATO ‘proscriptions’ have ‘encouraged’. In addition to building an ’emergency response facility’ in Nish, Serbia, Russia has been working to develop its nodes within the Serbian intelligence agencies to curb US-Albanian corruption in the drug trade, and to ‘clean house’, in the event that the rising tensions see a reintroduction of the violence that struck the region in the 1990’s.
The major difference this time, is that the US is militarily incapable of acting against Serbia, if Russia continues to increase its security guarantees and relationship with the west Balkan state.