Amid rising tensions with Kosovo and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's recent order to shoot down all UAVs found in no-fly zones and near military facilities, Iranian officials have suggested that Serbia has made an official bid to buy Iranian drones. If true, the purchase could make Belgrade the largest military drone operator in the Balkans, Defense News wrote.
Over the past few years, Serbia's UAV procurement strategy has focused on striking a balance between increasing diversification of foreign suppliers and further expanding its own domestic industry.
Since the country became the largest source of military spending in the Balkans in 2019, the country's drone fleet has added new additions, including Chinese-made CH-92A drones. This has greatly increased the capabilities of the Serbian air police thanks to the 250-kilometer range of these drones.
Meanwhile, the Serbian-made Gavran bomber ammunition and a combat version of its small Vrabac drone are being developed.
The Gavran system, presented at Eurosatory 2022, is the first system of its kind developed locally. The Serbian technology has a maximum takeoff weight of 50 kg and can carry a payload of up to 15 kg while flying at a maximum speed of 120 km/h for 30 minutes at a range of about 100 km.
The system was supposed to operate in a swarm of several drones controlled from a command post. The system is said to have interchangeable explosives capable of carrying a 12-kilogram warhead, and is launched from ground containers mounted either on trucks or trailers.
The first prototype armed version of the Vrabac drone was unveiled in Belgrade earlier this year. More compact than its predecessor, it can be equipped with six 40mm M22 rounds with a range of 5 meters.
Although the country has repeatedly expressed interest in acquiring Turkish TB2 drones in the past, those plans may be halted after Iranian Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi announced that Belgrade is one of 22 countries that have submitted a formal request to purchase Iranian UAVs.