Delivery of the first batch of two of Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile and gun systems took place at the Colonel-pilot Milenko Pavlović airport (commonly known as Batajnica Air Base) in the central Serbia. According to the Serbian authorities, the country awaits further delivery of additional four Pantsir-S1 systems on contract.
‘With the acquisition of [these – MM] weapons, the only such in the region, Serbia continues to strengthen its defense capabilities and increase the deterrence potential. In this way, our ability to remain militarily neutral is further strengthened, which is a fundamental security commitment of the Commander-in-Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces, President Aleksandar Vucic, as well as of our Government and Parliament’, said Defense Minister Alexander Vulin.
The procurement of the one battery of Russian-designed and manufactured Pantsir S-1 anti-aircraft missile and gun system was officially confirmed in late 2019. The decision of Serbian authorities was widely criticised by the West, especially members of the EU and NATO.
Serbia is the largest importer of Russian weapons and military equipment in Europe. The Balkan country already acquired seven Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters, received also six MiG-29 fighters and ten BRDM-2MS armored personnel carriers.