As the press service of the Serbian MoD recently reported, pilots and technical staff of the 98th Air Brigade of the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence (98. Bаздухопловна бригада, Ратно ваздухопловство и противваздухопловна одбрана Војске Србије) had a very intense start into the new year 2021.
In January, the Kraljevo-Lađevci air base – commonly called ´Morava base´, after an airport located within the area of Lađevci airfield – organized the first live-fly training scheduled for this year, focused on improvement of the crews´ skills in the winter conditions.
The pilots of Soko J-22 Orao (´Eagle´) fighter-bomber aircraft performed several training flights in Kraljevo region, with the main objective of maintaining the ability to complete combat tasks in difficult winter conditions: fog, reduced visibility, uniformity of terrain and take-off/landing operations from snowy airfield.
At the same time, the ground crews were practicing their usual procedures, but this time performed in adverse winter conditions and low temperatures.
Soko J-22 Orao is a twin-engine, fighter-bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, designed in the 1970s as a joint Yugoslav-Romanian project (in Romania known as IAR-93 Vultur). While Romania has already retired all their IAR-93 aircraft in the late 1990s, Serbia still has approximately twenty J-22 jets in active service and a few more in storage.
Since 1990s, several different modernization programmes for Orao aircraft were proposed, including the most advanced one, so-called ´Orao 2.0´. In recent years, an upgrade of existing J-22 fleet was already among main objectives of the Serbian Air Force – more detailed information about the modernization programme and related controversies can be found in our articles focused on that subject.
All quotations and photos © Министарство одбране Републике Србије / MoD Republic of Serbia. MoD press releases were used