On 12th October 2023, the first Airbus C295 medium tactical transport aircraft officially entered service with the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence (Ратно ваздухопловство и противваздухопловна одбрана Војске Србије). The aeroplane is the first of two C295s that were ordered by Serbia last year, as part of comprehensive programme of modernization of the country´s air force.
The purchase deed, worth 81 million EUR, was signed in February of 2022. It included delivery of the two C295s aircraft to Serbia, together with additional equipment needed for everyday operations, and crew training services.
Following the contractual provisions, both flying and ground personnel from Serbia attended the C295 familiarization and training in Sevilla, Spain – the city where Airbus C295 aeroplanes are being manufactured.
On 25th September 2023, the first C295 for the Serbian Air Force was delivered, successfully completing the 2,335-kilometre-long flight from Sevilla to Batajnica. The aeroplane received its military registration ´29501´ and then was officially introduced into service on 12th October, during a short ceremony organized in Colonel Pilot Milenko Pavlović air base. The event was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Miloš Vučević, and Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, General Milan Mojsilović.
Acquirement of the modern medium tactical transport aircraft means a significant improvement of the airlift capabilities of the Serbian Air Force. The new aeroplanes will succeed so far the only medium cargo aircraft of the Serbian armed forces – the An-26 ´71386´, manufactured in 1975 (check our article from 2019 for full history of that aeroplane).
The new Serbian airlifters, according to official press release of the Airbus company, are equipped with modern Pro Line Fusion avionics system by Collins Aerospace. The suite was introduced into C295 aircraft in 2019 and represents the latest commercial avionics technology enhanced with military functions. It includes adaptive touchscreen displays, night-vision goggles capability, head-up displays and Enhanced Vision System for operation in low visibility conditions.
Similarly to the above mentioned An-26, the Serbian C295s will be based in Batajnica and operate within the 138th Transport Squadron (138. мешовита транспортна авијацијска ескадрила) of the 204th Air Brigade.
All photos © Министарство одбране Републике Србије / MoD Republic of Serbia. MoD press releases were used.