Training flights of the 204th Air Brigade

The Serbian Air Force and Air Defence (Ратно ваздухопловство и противваздухопловна одбрана Војске Србије) is among popular subjects of our articles. One of the main reasons are interesting press releases of the Serbian Ministry of Defence that are creating a good opportunity to pay a virtual visit to different air bases and to take a look at the Serbian military training exercises.

In 2021, we have already twice visited the 98th Air Brigade at Lađevci – the unit that operates the Soko J-22 Orao (English: eagle) fighter-bomber and reconnaissance jets. In January this year, we have introduced the 714th Anti-Armour Helicopter Squadron during its winter training activities. And in the middle of 2022, we have followed the 63rd Parachute Brigade during its night-time jumps.

Today, we are focusing on Batajnica air base and the 101st Fighter Squadron of the 204th Air Brigade, equipped with MiG-29 (NATO reporting name ´Fulcrum´) aircraft.

Serbian MiG-29 at Batajnica

The 204th Air Brigade (204. ваздухопловна бригада) was established on 15th November 2006 at the ´Colonel-Pilot Milenko Pavlović´ military air base in Batajnica, located in the vicinity of Belgrade, the Serbian capital city. The Brigade includes, inter alia, the abovementioned 101st Fighter Squadron, nicknamed the ´Knights´ (101. ловачка авијацијска ескадрила ´Витези´); the 138th Transport Squadron, operating An-26 aircraft and Mi-8 helicopters; the 252nd Training Squadron; as well as the 890th Mixed Helicopter Squadron, equipped with Mi-17 and Soko Gazelle helicopters.

In May of 2021, the Serbian Air Force officially retired its MiG-21 fighter aircraft, at the same time basing its fighter aviation solely on modernized MiG-29 jets. The majority of Serbian ´Fulcrums´ originates from Russian donation of 2017 – the aircraft were then overhauled and upgraded in Belarus, by the 558th Aviation Plant in Baranovichi.

A pair of Serbian MiG-29 fighters while taking-off from Batajnica

In the recent days, the Serbian military authorities are more often mentioning the need of increasing the number of fighter aircraft with the Serbian Air Force. This time, their eyes are focused on a Western fighter, especially the French-made Rafale. But before this happens, Serbian Fulcrum fighter pilots are still practising to keep their high capability to control and protect the country’s airspace.

In the middle of August 2022, the pilots of the 101st Fighter Squadron, in coordination with fighter aviation guidance officers from the 126th ASEWG Brigade, practised tactical procedures by performing interception tasks at various altitudes and in diverse weather conditions.

All photos used with this article were taken last week at Batajnica air base, during the abovementioned training activities of the 204th Air Brigade.

MiG-29 pre-flight maintenance

All photos © Министарство одбране Републике Србије / MoD Republic of Serbia. MoD press releases were used.