Five MiG-29s newly delivered to Serbia were displayed during the Sloboda 2017 (Freedom 2017) exercise that took place at Batajnica air base on October 20.
Three An-124 flights by the Volga-Dnepr company had brought a total of six MiG-29s to Batajnica during the first week of October. The jets have been donated by the Russian defence ministry to the Ratno Vazduhoplovstvo i Protivvazduhoplovna Odbrana (RV i PVO, Serbian Air Force and Air Defence).
One of the Fulcrums (a 9.13 version, RF-93709) was immediately sent back to Russia for general overhaul at the 121 Aviation Repair Plant in Kubinka. Reportedly, it was not even taken out of the An-124. The time between overhaul (TBO) for the MiG-29 is ten years or 700 flight hours, but for the Russian armed forces it’s seven years – and because RF-93709 was last overhauled in 2010, it’s now due another.
Five aircraft will be brought to the same standard as the four surviving MiG-29s in the current RV i VPO inventory. This includes an MFI-54 multifunction colour cockpit display and communication and navigation devices in accordance with ICAO standards.
The aircraft are expected to take over quick reaction alert assignment and pilot training in the second half of next year. Current Serbian MiG-29s will be overhauled when they reach their TBO of ten years.
The 101st lovačka avijacijska eskadrila (101st Fighter Aviation Squadron) will have ten MiG-29s in around two years’ time, which will continue to serve until 2027-31. Aleksandar Radić