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The Serbian Air Force
Air Force
and Air Defence (Ратно ваздухопловство и противваздухопловна одбрана / Ratno vazduhoplovstvo i protivvazduhoplovna odbrana), is the air force of Serbia
Serbia
and service branch of the Serbian Armed Forces. Established on 24 December 1912 in the city of Niš,[2] it was absorbed into the various Yugoslav Air Forces between 1918 and 2006.

Contents

1 Role 2 Organization 3 History

3.1 Balkan Wars 3.2 World War I 3.3 World War II 3.4 Neutrality during Cold War 3.5 NATO
NATO
bombing of Yugoslavia

4 Equipment

4.1 Aircraft 4.2 Air defence 4.3 Radars

5 Modernization (2011–present) 6 Aircraft
Aircraft
markings 7 Serbian Air Force
Air Force
Centennial 8 Ranks

8.1 Officers 8.2 Enlisted

9 See also 10 References 11 External links

Role

Maintaining airspace dominance. Intercepting and eliminating airspace violators. Providing air support and transport for terrestrial units. Responding to natural disasters.

Organization

Structure of the Air Force
Air Force
and Air Defence

Air Force
Air Force
and Air Defence Command

210th Signal Battalion 333rd Engineering Battalion Air Medical Institute Moma Stanojlovic Aeronautical plant Section for Air Control, Protection and Allocation

204th Air Brigade
204th Air Brigade
Batajnica Air Base

101st Fighter Squadron 252nd Training Squadron 138th Transport Squadron 890th Mixed Helicopter
Helicopter
Squadron 24th Air Technical Battalion 17th Airfield Security Battalion 177th Air Defence Artillery Missile Battalion

98th Air Brigade
98th Air Brigade
Lađevci Air Base

241st Fighter-Bomber Squadron 714th Anti Armor Helicopter
Helicopter
Squadron 119th Mixed Helicopter
Helicopter
Squadron 98th Air Defence Artillery Missile Battalion 98th Airfield Security Battalion 161st Airfield Security Battalion 98th Air Technical Battalion

250th Air Defense Missile Brigade

Command Company 1st Air Defence Missile Battalion 2nd Air Defence Missile Battalion 230th Air Defence Self-Propelled Missile Battalion 240th Air Defence Self-Propelled Missile Battalion 310th Air Defence Self-Propelled Missile Battalion

126th Air Surveillance, Early Warning and Guidance Brigade

Command Company 20th ASEWG Battalion 31st ASEWG Battalion Air Maintenance and Supply Company

History Main article: History of the Serbian Air Force

Monument to the First Class of Serbian aviators with sculpture of Icarus
Icarus
at Niš

The first aviation pioneer in Serbia
Serbia
was Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Kosta Miletić (1874-1953), trained as a balloon pilot at the Technical Aeronautical School near Saint Petersburg, Russia
Russia
from 27 February 1901 to 25 November 1902.[3][4] Miletić was also trained in the use of carrier pigeons. On the recommendation of Miletić, the Serbian armed forces posed messenger pigeon stations (in 1908 in Medoševac near Niš
Niš
and in 1909 in Pirot), and bought two free spherical and one tied kite – balloon from the August Ridinger company from Augsburg. At the reception ceremony, on 19 April 1909, Kosta Miletić flew a spherical balloon called Srbija (Serbia). One balloon was provided from Russia. A gas chamber was ordered from the Dillmann company in Berlin, and a field winch from St Petersburg. A hydrogen unit was provided from the Swiss company Oerlikon. The equipment was delivered to Serbia
Serbia
in 1909 and 1910. The first competition for cadet airmen in Serbia
Serbia
was opened in May 1911, and in the following year the first class of Serbian pilots started their flying training in France
France
from 21 May to 8 September 1912 and got the rank of pilot. They finished the course in the beginning of the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
with aircraft and the balloons that had already been obtained prior to the outbreak of war.[5] In the autumn of 1912, Serbia
Serbia
got the aircraft for its armed forces. On 24 December 1912 the head of the military ministry Radomir Putnik approved the formation of the Aviation Command situated in Niš; the commander was Major
Major
Kosta Miletić. It comprised: the Aircraft Squadron which counted 12 military aircraft, the Balloon Company, the Pigeon Post and the Base. This date is regarded in Serbia
Serbia
as marking the official founding of the air force. This made Serbia
Serbia
one of the first 15 states in the world to have an air force. Balkan Wars See also: Macedonian Struggle

The first Serbian military pilot Sgt. Mihajlo Petrović (1884–1913)[6]

The First Balkan War
First Balkan War
broke out in October 1912; Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia
Serbia
waged it against the Ottoman Empire. In this war, the Serbian Aviation Command had its first combat experience. In February 1913, the High Command of Serbian Army
Serbian Army
formed an expeditionary Coastal Airplane Squadron in order to aid the Montenegrin ground force against Ottoman troops who were reinforced at the town of Skadar
Skadar
near the Adriatic
Adriatic
coast. Air support for this formation was assigned to the newly established "Coastal Airplane Squad", the first Serbian air combat unit, with 4 airplanes (Blériot XI one-seater, Blériot XI two-seater, Deperdussin TT
Deperdussin TT
and Farman HF.20) and 5 pilots under the command of Major
Major
Kosta Miletić. In mid-March 1913, this combat air unit was relocated near the frontline at a newly built auxiliary airfield in the village of Barbalusi. The first reconnaissance flight was made on March 20 (March 7, oldstyle), by Lt. Zivojin Stanković and Sgt. Mihailo Petrović. In this combat-reconnaissance flight on his Farman HF. 20 over the Skadar Front on 20 March 1913, Sgt. Mihailo Petrović was killed, thus becoming the first casualty in the history of the Serbian military aviation and the second one in world aviation history. Mihajlo Petrović was the first trained Serbian airplane pilot. He completed his training and exams at the famous Farman pilot school in France
France
and was awarded the international FAI license no. 979 in June 1912. His Serbian pilot's license carries the number 1.[4] The next day, pilots Lt. Zivojin Stankovich and Sgt. Miodrag Tomich successfully completed their first reconnaissance flights, and in the following days, pilots Milos Ilic, Stankovich and Tomich dropped a number of small bombs and conducted reconnaissance flights. A fascinating fact represents that the pilot Tomich and Esad Pasha, the former Turkish commander at the Skadar
Skadar
frontline, would meet in a completely different situation two years later, during the First World War, when pilot Tomich needed help. After Bulgaria attacked at Bregalnica in Serbia, the Second Balkan War began. The first reconnaissance mission had been performed by Miodrag Tomić, and after that Tomić and Stanković took turns and during a period of a month and a half, as the war with Bulgarians lasted, the two airmen performed 21 reconnaissance missions, of which Tomić did 14 flights. During one flight above Kriva Palanka, Tomić encountered a Bulgarian plane in the air, but neither one had weapons and they just greeted one another by hand waving. World War I See also: July crisis

From 1915 2nd Lt. Miodrag Tomić
Miodrag Tomić
and observer Milutin Mihailović seated in their Blériot XI-2, their first armed aircraft

General mobilization in the summer of 1914 found the Serbian Aeroplane Escadre not well prepared. The Aeroplane Escadre had only 9 aeroplanes of which 7 were in flying condition. Five planes and three pilots were relocated to the auxiliary airfield at Dabića. From that airfield, Captain's Živojin Stanković and 2nd Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Miodrag Tomić
Miodrag Tomić
on August 13, 1914 commenced their first reconnaissance flights in the Great War. Tomić took off from the airfield at Jevremovac on August 27, at five o’clock in the afternoon. Above Mishar he encountered an enemy plane and they were quite close to each other. The enemy plane opened fire on Tomić, who did not expect this, but he avoided it with an appropriate and fast maneuver, so the plane did not sustain any hits. Fire was coming from a Parabellum. It was – probably – the first exchange of fire between aircraft in history.[7] Because of air superiority of the K.u.K. Luftfahrtruppen over the Serbian Front, in March 1915 the French Escadrille arrived (Escadrille MF 99 S) under command of Captain Roger Vitrat (1885 Libourne
Libourne
- 1945 Neuengamme) to aid the weakness of the Serbian Aeroplane Escadre. The French Escadrille held the frontline from Smederevo to Loznica, and the Serbian Escadre from Smederevo to Golubac. After the conquest of Serbia
Serbia
by the Central Powers
Central Powers
in the autumn of 1915 and the great retreat of the Serbian army to the Greek island of Corfu, the Salonica Front was formed. During the invasion on Serbia
Serbia
in October 1915, Manfred von Richthofen
Manfred von Richthofen
was commenced its first combat flight as a pilot. Also, in the autumn of 1915, the first medical transport of the wounded and sick in world aviation history was realized in Serbia. One of the ill soldiers in that first medical transport was Milan Stefanik, a Czechoslovakian pilot-volunteer.[8] In June 1916 the reconstituted Serbian army sailed from Corfu
Corfu
and joined the French and British at Salonika. At the Salonica Front
Salonica Front
line, with the support of the Allied force, the Serbian Aeroplane Escadre was reorganized. From mid-1916 to 1918 at the Serbian part of the new established frontline, 5 Escadrilles (N521, N522, N523, N524 and N525) were operated, and squadrons were staffed with most of French and Serbian personnel. These air force units were officially known as the Aéronautique de l’Armée Serbe or Serbian Army
Serbian Army
Air Service and were attached to the High Command of Serbian Army
Serbian Army
which was a part of Allied Macedonian Army or Armée de l'Orient.[9] It was commanded by a French officer, Major
Major
Roger Vitrat.[9] In the beginning of 1918 the new reorganisation was started when the 1st Serbian Escadrille was formed on January 17, and the 2nd Serbian Escadrille on May 1, 1918, staffed with Serbian personnel. World War II See also: Yugoslav coup d'état

Western Desert, North Africa. 19 February 1942. Armament personnel loading one of the seaplanes of a Royal Yugoslav Air Force
Air Force
unit operating in the Middle East.

The attacking forces engaged in the April War
April War
(6 to 17 April) were 2373 aircraft strong, including 1212 aircraft from Germany, 647 from Italy and 287 from Hungary, while the Royal Yugoslav Air Force
Air Force
had 494 airplanes, only 269 of a modern type. Thus the ratio in the beginning of operations was 5:1 in favor of the enemy, and if we count only modern Yugoslav aircraft the ratio climbs to 7:1 in favor of the Axis powers. In spite of huge logistic difficulties and acts of treason (proclamation of the so-called "Independent State of Croatia" on April 10, 1941) the Royal Yugoslav Air Force
Air Force
fulfilled its duties with honor. Yugoslav airmen fought with incomparable courage against an enemy superior both technically and numerically. Especially, the 5th and 6th Fighter Wing pilots showed their bravery. During the war operations (6 to 15 April) a total of 1416 take-offs was made, 993 of which were performed by fighters and 423 by bombers. During this short war 135 flight crew members and 576 ground personnel bravely lost their lives. About 300 Yugoslav Air Force
Air Force
personnel escaped, first to Greece
Greece
then to Crete.[10] After the Battle of Crete
Crete
they went on to the deserts of the Near and Middle East, where for a short time they found a safe place. Meanwhile, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
had already arrived with his Afrika Korps. In June 1941 the 20th Hydroaviation Escadrille under command of Lt Vladeta Petrovich with their no surrender war flag was renamed in the 2nd Yugoslav Squadron, attached to No. 230 Squadron RAF.[11][12] Up until 23 April 1942 the squadron flew 912 combat mission (1.760 flaying hourse) and lost four aircraft. The main mission of the squadron was anti-submarine patrol and protected allied shipping. Neutrality during Cold War See also: Cold War NATO
NATO
bombing of Yugoslavia

Lt Col Milenko Pavlovich (1959-1999), commander of 204th Fighter Squadron.

An important portion of the 1999 war between Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
and the NATO coalition involved combat between the Yugoslav Air Force, which was the predecessor of today's Serbian Air Force, and the opposing air forces of NATO. United States
United States
Air Force
Air Force
F-15s and F-16s flying mainly from Italian air force bases attacked the defending Yugoslav fighters—usually MiG-29s, which were in bad shape, due to lack of spare parts and maintenance. A total of six Yugoslav MiG-29s were shot down in 1999, of which three were shot down by USAF F-15s, one by a USAF F-16, and one by a RNAF F-16.[13] One aircraft, according to a Serbian documentary, was hit by friendly fire from the ground.[14] Another four were destroyed on the ground.[15] During the course of the air war, Yugoslav anti-aircraft defenses downed a USAF F-16C
F-16C
and an F-117 Nighthawk, the first stealth aircraft ever to be shot down in combat.[16] Equipment Aircraft The air force fleet consists of several Soviet combat aircraft, consisting of a number of MiG-21s, and MiG-29s. Serbia
Serbia
is looking to replace its aging fleet with new multi-role combat aircraft. Before its demise, the former Yugoslav Air Force
Air Force
was developing the Novi Avion project which was intended as a replacement. The project was canceled in 1991 due to the collapse of Yugoslavia. Serbia, as the largest succeeding nation of Yugoslavia, took possession of the entire Yugoslav Air Force
Air Force
inventory. After the Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control was enacted in 1996, dozens of J-22, J-21 and G-2s have been withdrawn from service. The air force operates from three major air bases, the 204th Batajnica Air Base and 98th Lađevci Air Base and Niš
Niš
Air Base.

A Serbian Air Force
Air Force
MiG-29B

A Serbian SA341 on display at Batajnica Air Show 2012

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes

Combat Aircraft

MiG-29 Russia multirole

10[17] Of the 16 planes brought during 1980s, 4 were active by 2017. Further 6 were receved from Russia
Russia
in October 2017.[18]

MiG-21 Soviet Union fighter

3[17] Will be out of service by the end of 2018.

Soko J-22 Yugoslavia attack

17[17]

Transport

Antonov An-26 Soviet Union transport

1[17] 2 more on order in 2018.

Piper PA-34 United States transport

1[17]

Helicopters

Mil Mi-17 Russia utility Mi-8/17 10[17]

Airbus H145 France utility H145M

9 on order[17]

Aérospatiale Gazelle France scout / anti-armor 341/42 30[17] manufactured under license by SOKO

Trainer Aircraft

Soko G-4 Yugoslavia light attack

21[17]

Soko G-2 Yugoslavia light attack

1[17]

Lasta 95 Serbia trainer

14[17]

Air defence The Serbian air force operates a variety of Soviet surface-to-air missile systems. Many are long-range with a moderate amount of short-range weapons assigned to infantry units. The 250th Air Defence Missile Brigade operates SA-3 and SA-6 surface-to-air missile systems. The military is upgrading both types with fire-and-forget ability. The air force has upgraded "Neva-M" to the "Neva-M1T" standard and "Kub-M" to "Kub-M2".[19][20][21] For defending air bases and important infrastructures Bofors 40mm
Bofors 40mm
L-70 in complement with M-85 Zirafa radars are used, and for engaging low flight targets 9K38 Igla
9K38 Igla
or SA-18. SA-6 were upgraded also with improved R-60 (missile)
R-60 (missile)
and R-73 (missile). Those Air-To-Air missiles are added on the existing SA-6 system.[22]

2K12 Kub
2K12 Kub
SAM of the Serbian 250th Air Defense Brigade

Name Origin Type In service Notes

SAM

S-125 Soviet Union SAM system 8 batteries[23]

2K12 Kub Soviet Union SAM system 12 batteries[24] Tracked medium-range SAM[25]

Bofors 40 mm Sweden Autocannon 1 battery per airbase[26] Used in compliment with M-85 radars.

9K38 Igla Soviet Union MANPADS 226 units[27]

BOV-3 Serbia
Serbia
and Montenegro self-propelled gun 16 units[27]

Buk missile system Russia SAM system 6 batteries on order[28]

9K32 Strela-2 Soviet Union/ Serbia
Serbia
and Montenegro MANPADS Unknown number Ordered by Yugoslavia. Produced by Serbia
Serbia
& Montenegro under Russian licence after break-up of Soviet Union(150 from 1992. to 2000.).[29]

Radars The inventory includes Marconi S-600 series radars: model S-605/654 Observation radars, and model S-613 Altitude measurement radar; AN/TPS-70 3D radar; AS-74 and AS-84 automatized systems. There are AN/TPS-63 radars out of service.

Name Origin Type In service Notes

Radars

AN/TPS-70 United States 3D Observation radar 5 One destroyed by NATO
NATO
strikes in 1999. Two more acquired from Slovenia in 2015.[30]

Marconi S-600 United Kingdom Observation; Altitude measurement N/A S-605 or S-654 (Observation) and S-613 (Altitude measurement) in inventory from late 1970s.[31]

P-12 Soviet Union 3D VHF
VHF
radar N/A Serbia
Serbia
modernized them in 2013.

P-18 Soviet Union 2D VHF
VHF
radar N/A The 250th Brigade, equipped with P-18 and S-125 missiles, shot down a US F-117 during the Kosovo War.[32]

Modernization (2011–present) The Serbian Ministry of Defence intended the purchase of new multirole combat aircraft to replace its aging fleet of MiG-21 and MiG-29
MiG-29
combat aircraft. Reports in the media in December 2011 speculated between 12 and 16 aircraft would be ordered and listed the F-16, F-18, Rafale, JAS 39 Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, Su-30 or the MiG-29M
MiG-29M
as possible candidates.[33][34] Military analyst Miroslav Lazanski
Miroslav Lazanski
claimed Russia
Russia
is offering Serbia 12 MiG-29M/M2 combat aircraft along with S-300PMU-2 and Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile systems, as well as two radars for its air defence.[35] In June 2013, defence minister Aleksandar Vučić suggested that Serbia
Serbia
might purchase six MiG-29M/M2s.[36] In July 2013, media reports suggested that Serbia
Serbia
might be interested in purchasing a squadron of medium transport helicopters, preferably the Mi-17.[37] In the summer of 2014, Serbia
Serbia
abandoned its plans to purchase new MiGs from Russia
Russia
or any other new aircraft in order to put aside 24 million dinars for the overhaul of G-4 supergalebs. This decision depended on the level of scientific-technological knowledge and financial capacity of the state.[38] In January 2016, after Croatia's plans to purchase MGM-140 ATACMS
MGM-140 ATACMS
tactical missiles from the U.S., Serbia
Serbia
sent requests to purchase Tor, Pantsir, and Buk air defense systems as well as MiG-29
MiG-29
jet fighters.[39] By November 2016, six MiG-29
MiG-29
are ready to be delivered to Serbia, if repair costs are covered (reportedly $50 million).[40] By December 2016, the agreement of shipment of six MiG-29
MiG-29
aircraft had been sealed and they were expected to arrive by March 2017, and all 10 of Serbia's MiG29 will be modernized to the MiG-29SM standard.[41] In January 2017, Serbia's defence minister Zoran Đorđević announced that Belarus will donate 8 old Mig-29 and 2 Buk missile systems to Serbia
Serbia
on conditions that Serbia
Serbia
pays for the repairs.[42] In October 2017, six MiG-29s arrived to Serbia
Serbia
fom Russia.[18] Aircraft
Aircraft
markings The Serbian Air Force
Air Force
roundel was officially adopted in 2006. The roundel is an adapted version of the former Royal Yugoslav Air Force roundel which ceased to exist in 1943. It is composed of a blue trim on the outside rim followed inward by the Serbian national colours red, blue and white, with a white cross in the centre with blue trim. The Air Force
Air Force
also uses a low visibility roundel of the same design only replacing the traditional roundel colours of red, blue and white with two grey colour variations of light and dark for contrast; these roundels have most recently been placed on refurbished MiG-29s. Most other aircraft continue to use the standard coloured roundel. Serbian Air Force
Air Force
Centennial The Serbian Air Force
Air Force
observed its centennial anniversary celebration on 2 September 2012, marking one hundred years of its existence by hosting an international air show organized by the Ministry of Defense as the central manifestation.[43] The air show featured representatives from 16 countries around the world and 27 kinds of aircraft.[44] Ranks Main article: Military ranks of Serbia Officers

Equivalent NATO
NATO
Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) & Student officer

Serbia (Edit) No equivalent

Unknown

General (Генерал) Lieutenant
Lieutenant
General (Генерал-Потпуковник) Major
Major
General (Генерал-Мајор) Brigadier General (Бригадни Генерал) Colonel (Пуковник) Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Colonel (Потпуковник) Major (Мајор) Captain (Капетан) Lieutenant (Поручник) Second Lieutenant (Потпоручник)

Enlisted

Equivalent NATO
NATO
Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Serbia (Edit)

No insignia

Warrant officer
Warrant officer
1st class (Заставник I класе) Warrant officer (Заставник) Senior sergeant
Senior sergeant
1st class (Старији Водник I класе) Senior Sergeant (Старији Водник) Sergeant (Водник) Corporal (Млађи водник) Senior airman (Десетар) Airman first class (Разводник) Airman basic (Војник)

See also

Yugoslav Air Force Yugoslav Royal Air Force Air Force
Air Force
of Serbia
Serbia
and Montenegro

References

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Miroslav Lazanski
(1 December 2012). "Novi "migovi" i S-400 stižu u Srbiju" (in Serbian). Politika.  ^ " Serbia
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Bibliography

Editors: Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia (1992). Air war for Yugoslavia, Greece
Greece
and Crete
Crete
1940-41. Grub Street Publishing. ISBN 978-09-488170-7-6. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Editors: Aleksandar M. Ognjević, Ognjan M. Petrović and Nenad M. Miklušev (2015). Serbian Air Force
Air Force
Memorial – Miodrag P. Tomic. Leadensky Books. ISBN 978-86-917625-1-3. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) Boris Ciglić (2009). Wings of Serbia
Serbia
1912 – 1920. Infinitas d.o.o. ISBN 978-86-6045-005-2.  Boris Ciglić & Dragan Savić (2007). Dornier Do 17 – The Yugoslav Story: Operational Record 1937-1947. Jeroplan Books. ISBN 978-86-909727-0-8.  Aleksandar M. Ognjević (2014). Bristol Blenheim – The Yugoslav Story: Operational Record 1937–1958. Leadensky Books. ISBN 978-86-917625-0-6.  Boris Ciglić, Dragan Savić, Milan Micevski & Predrag Miladinović (2016). Messerschmitt Bf 109 – The Yugoslav Story: Operational Record 1939-1953. Jeroplan Books. ISBN 978-86-909727-2-2. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

Further reading

Air Forces Monthly Magazine, Aeroflight Vazduhoplovstvo Srbije na Solunskom frontu 1916-1918, Vladeta D. Vojinovic, 2000 Srpska Avijatika 1912-1918; MJV, Sky, EUROSINI; 1992

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Serbian Air Force
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Official homepage Republic of Serbia
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- Ministry of Defence Who was Sgt. Mihailo Petrovic? Serbian Air Force
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Memorial - Miodrag P. Tomić Story of the two Biplane fighters: Popovic and Jermakov Wings of Serbia
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1912 – 1920 by Boris Ciglić Bristol Blenheim:The Yugoslav story by Aleksandar M. Ognjević 2014 Dornier Do 17: The Yugoslav story by Boris Ciglić and Dragan Savić 2007 Messerschmitt Bf 109 - The Yugoslav Story: Operational Record 1939-1953 The Yugoslav Detachment of the 376th BG 512 sq B-24 42-73065, RCL #23 Spit Mk.IX c (GO-Z,MH 838) model of Captain Života Bosković (African Eagle) from 94 sq To whom does the man called Zivota Boskovic belong? Wings Over Tsavo Jak-1 in Yugoslav Service AP Archive: Serb (Yugoslav) Air Force
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on Standbay (1999) on YouTube Dogfights over Belgrade 1999 May 2 4 May - The Fall of Yugoslav (Serbian) Squad Leader ″Pure laine″ The Meaning of Life - Serbian Air Force

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