Serbia could turn to the Typhoon if France refuses to deliver “certain missiles”

Things are not going as well as hoped between Paris and Belgrade regarding a possible acquisition of 12 Rafale planes to replace the aging Mig-29s of the Serbian air force. If the negotiations continue with Dassault aviation and the Hotel de Brienne, it seems that the Serbian authorities are irritated by the refusal of Paris to deliver certain missiles. And to give weight to this dissatisfaction, Nebojša Stefanovi, the Serbian Defense Minister, announced on April 16 that he had started, in parallel with negotiations with Paris, talks with London about Typhoon fighters, specifying that the first of the two to satisfy Belgrade about these missiles, could well win the decision. The missile in question is probably the European long-range Air-Air missile Meteor, one of the rare munitions with the SCALP missile that can be used by both devices.

Initially, Belgrade had put forward the hypothesis of acquiring, alongside the 12 French Rafales, 12 other second-hand aircraft of another model in order to reinforce these defensive capacities, and the British Typhoon Block 1s were considered to be credible candidates. However, in the recent communication from the Serbian Minister of Defense, this notion of second-hand aircraft is no longer predominant, and it seems that from now on, Belgrade does indeed consider the Typhoon as a full alternative to the French Rafale. Moreover, by arguing directly on the authorization to export the missile, Serbia suggests that London would be ready to accede to its demands, where Paris would resist with determination. However, the Meteor is a missile bringing together British, Swedish, German, Italian, Spanish and French industries (which notably produces the Meteor's radar seeker), and the export authorization must be validated by all the members. In fact, the form of pressure attempted by Nebojša Stefanovi could come to an end, because Paris could very well ban the export of the Meteor even if Belgrade turned to London and its Typhoon. It would be exactly the same, moreover, if the Serbian expectations related to the Scalp / Storm Shadow cruise missile, co-produced by France and Great Britain.

The Serbian air force today operates 14 aging and largely obsolete Mig-29s, of which 10 are Russian and Belarusian aircraft acquired second-hand, and 4 inherited from Yugoslavia

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