Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has said he will soon inspect a Russian-made Pantsir-S surface-to-air missile/gun system after Belgrade has placed an order for it.
“An S-400 [long-range air defense missile system] is in our country because of the drills. And tomorrow I will go to look at it. Also, I am going to examine a Pantsir-S system on Saturday [October 26]. We have placed an order for it,” the Serbian president said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that a battalion of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and a battery of Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile/gun launchers had redeployed to Serbia to take part in the drills for the first time on the territory of a foreign state.
“The Russian air defense units with S-400 surface-to-air missile systems and Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile/gun launchers have been airlifted by Russian military transport planes to the territory of Serbia to take part in the second stage of the Slavic Shield-2019 joint Russian-Serbian air defense exercise,” the ministry said.
The S-400 battalion and the Pantsir battery will “take part in the drills on the territory of a foreign state for the first time,” the ministry emphasized.
The S-400 and Pantsir-S air defense missile systems will be deployed at the Batajnica air base in Serbia and will join the Russian-Serbian air defense grouping of forces. The Russian and Serbian air defense troops will practice detecting, tracking, identifying and destroying the entire range of a notional enemy’s air targets.
The Slavic Shield-2019 Russian-Serbian drills are running for the first time and consist of two stages. The first stage took place in September at the Russian Aerospace Force’s combat training center in the southern Astrakhan Region. The second stage is running in Serbia on October 23-29.
The Serbian Defense Ministry reported earlier on Thursday that the drills were running at two practice ranges and “numerous firings” were planned during the maneuvers.
The Pantsir-S1 (NATO reporting name: SA-22 Greyhound) is a ground-based self-propelled surface-to-air missile/gun system designed to shield military and civilian facilities, including long-range air defense systems, from all modern and future air attack weapons.