TechSerbia gears up military might with French Rafale jets amid regional tensions

Serbia gears up military might with French Rafale jets amid regional tensions

Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale
Images source: © Alpha Coders
9:25 AM EDT, April 11, 2024

During the Serbian president's official visit to France on April 10, it was announced that France and Serbia had agreed to a transaction for 12 Rafale aircraft. This article delves into the background of this decision and the capabilities of these aircraft.

Serbia has officially agreed with France to acquire 12 Rafale jets, with the contract expected to be signed in the coming months. The Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić had previously expressed Serbia's intention to purchase French fighters as early as 2023.

The agreement indicates Russia's declining influence in several countries globally, as they now view France as a viable alternative, especially for military equipment supplies. In addition to Serbia, other traditionally aligned countries, such as India, Indonesia, and Uzbekistan, have also preferred Rafale.

France’s approach to arms supplies is notably neutral. Unlike the USA or China, France does not demand adherence to its geopolitical interests. For instance, the US has imposed embargoes on equipment supplies to countries like Egypt. France also separates humanitarian issues from its arms trade, unlike Germany, which has vetoed sales of Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to Saudi Arabia due to such concerns. Furthermore, French weaponry mostly bypasses American ITAR regulations, making France an attractive and reliable supplier for former Russian clients.

This includes Serbia, which, bearing the memories of the wars in the '90s, does not consider the USA or Germany viable alternatives. The announcement of the Serbia-France agreement has, however, raised concerns among neighbouring countries, who fear a resurgence of Serbian militarism, especially since Serbia still does not recognize Kosovo's independence. Serbia's purchase of 12 Rafale aircraft could counterbalance the Croatian Air Force, which has already received part of its order of 12 Rafale aircraft.

Rafale — France's export fighter hit

The Rafale fighter is among the top military aircraft globally. It features two engines, delta wings, and a "canard" tail for exceptional manoeuvrability at various speeds. Unlike its competition, the Rafale was designed as a multirole aircraft capable of air superiority, attacking land or sea targets, and even conducting nuclear strikes.

The Rafale is equipped with advanced avionics for operation in all weather conditions, enhancing its survival odds. Its equipment includes an AESA radar and an infrared IRST system for detecting stealth targets about 62 miles away. It may also feature a DDM-NG infrared missile warning system, a potential DIRCM system for missile defence, and the SPECTRA electronic warfare system, which employs DRFM for radar signal manipulation akin to stealth technology.

The Rafale's weaponry consists of the NEXTER 30M791 30 mm cannon, carrying over 9 tons of arms across 14 (or 13 in the marine version) pylons. The armament options include long-range Meteor missiles, MICA air-to-air missiles, AM 39-Exocet anti-ship missiles, Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG cruise missiles, AASM Hammer guided bombs, and ASMP-A supersonic cruise missiles with thermonuclear warheads.

Despite initial struggles in the international arms market, the Rafale has seen increased interest over the last decade, prompting France to expand its production capabilities. Given the current global state, further success for Rafale seems likely.

Related content