Serbia is expected to order up to 7 Mil Mi-17s or Mi-171s (“Hip”) from Russian Helicopters any time soon, according to sources in Belgrade and Russia. Press agencies in both countries cite Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic who wants to order the choppers “to be fully prepared for the protection of Serbia’s sovereignty”.
We at Airheadsfly.com expect an attrition replacement order for the Mi-17 the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence (Vazduhoplovstvo i protivvazdušna odbrana; VPO) lost on 13 March this year during a SAR mission. The chopper went down near Nikola Tesla IAP near Belgrade, just south of Bajtanica Air Base, killing seven people. But Serbia might even choose to replace its six older Mi-8T helicopters with a newer version of the Hip, bringing the total order to seven machines. One Mi-17 might still be operational with the VPO.
The seven remaining Hips are Serbia’s primary transport fleet, augmented by a pair of Antonov AN-26s tactical airlifters and possibly a single Antonov AN-2T STOL/Utility aircraft if still operational. The air force also uses more than 40 French-designed Gazelle helicopters in various utility and attack roles, built under license by Soko.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Serbian Mil- Mi-17 at Bajtanica Airbase near Belgrade during an Open Day in April 2012 (Image (CC) Srđan Popović)