He added that one of the two helicopter service and repair centers would deal with Russian helicopters, while the other would tend to Airbus rotorcraft.
“We want to become a regional service center for Airbus helicopters. The X-145 medium-range helicopter is very good and we are sure that it will be selling well both in Serbia and elsewhere in the Balkans,” Djordjevic said.
With the Serbian government all set to make the defense industry a key economic sector, Sputnik asked the Minister whether Belgrade would be doing this alone or in cooperation with other countries, including Russia.
Zoran Djordjevic said that Serbia wanted to go it alone and was unlikely to team up with anyone else just for the sake of it. He also underscored the importance of defense production for the army and the national economy as a whole.
“Our parliament is now working in a draft law on the production and transportation of arms and ammunition which, if enacted, would allow foreign ownership of maximum 49 percent of Serbian property,” the Minister said.
When asked if Serbia has enough specialists available to implement these ambitious projects, Zoran Djordjevic said that this year they planned to create 800 new jobs in the defense sector and one of the two helicopter repair centers was slated to go online on January 1, 2018.
“We have helicopters and we have people who can fly them. Moreover there is a number of MiG-29s [fighter jets] we are going to get from Russia, so we need people to service them,” Djordjevic noted.
Serbia is expected to take delivery of a number of MiG-29 fighter planes, as well as tanks and scout vehicles.
An agreement for the free delivery of six MiG-29 jets, 30 T-72 tanks, and 30 BRDM-2 armored vehicles was reached during Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic’s visit to Moscow in December, 2016.
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