Senior Commander Day on Airspace Targeting Joint Exercise “Shabla 2019”

Thursday, 13.6.2019 | Training
– Our Armed Forces may not be the richest or best equipped, but they are certainly among the best trained and may possess the richest combat experience. Our members of the Air Force and Air Defence have demonstrated exceptional training, motivation, discipline. All targets have been eliminated with minimal asset application, all the tasks set before them have been fulfilled, and there is a lot to learn from our armed forces as the representatives of the Bulgarian and United States Armed Forces have told us – said the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vulin on today’s Senior Commander Day on the airspace targeting joint exercise “Shabla 2019”, which he attended at the invitation of the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Bulgaria, Krasimir Karakchanov.

According to him, members of our armed forces are appreciated wherever they go, and he believes we can be certain of the future and peace of our country.

– With such an armed force, which shows that it is better than the best in the world, we can be certain that our freedom will be preserved – Minister Vulin said.

Speaking about the cooperation, the Minister of Defense stressed that our strategic commitment is military neutrality, and that Serbia will not become a member of the NATO, but we are working with the countries that are in the NATO through the Partnership for Peace program, which we consider to be the optimal level of our cooperation.

– This is very important for us, and we observe their training, we see which resources they use, we understand their procedures better, their tactical outlook in certain situations, and for every armed force it is always good to meet other armed forces. And when our neighbors are concerned, it is also the development of mutual trust, a better relationship and the relationship of our armed forces is certainly such that we can feel calm and assured – emphasized Minister Vulin.

Members of the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces have performed a successful airspace targeting today at the “Shabla” training grounds, which concluded the fifth joint shooting exercises with members of the armed forces of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, Minister of Defense of the Republic of Bulgaria, Krasimir Karakatchanov, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilović, Assistant Minister for Material Resources, Nenad Miloradović, Commandant of the Air Force and Air Defense, Major General Duško Žarković and the Head of the Department for International Military Cooperation, Colonel Milan Ranković attended the final shooting of the exercise.

Prime Minister Borisov stressed the importance of cooperation, pointing out that the shooting and joint exercise were an opportunity to train and represent the capabilities of each participating country. He also pointed out that cooperation is important for preserving peace in the Balkans.

Speaking about the results achieved on today’s shooting, General Žarković pointed out that the hunter aviation and rocket units for air defense demonstrated excellent crew and service capabilities.

– It was indeed a pleasure for me to attend this shooting, because the goal has been fully achieved and all the targets planned have been destroyed. Once again we confirmed the effectiveness of our training on the ground in yielding the best results – emphasized General Žarković.

Referring to the participation of our aviation at this exercise in 2011, the Commander of the Air Force and Air Defence pointed out that we had already trained pilots of MiG-29 aircraft, but that this year, a significantly larger number of pilots and aircraft took part in the exercise, which means that we have a larger number of operational aircraft and thus higher engagement per pilot.

– It is extremely important to have as many pilots perform combat practice in the air, that is the highest level of training, and after that you are ready to carry out all combat tasks – said General Žarković.  

The Commander of 250 Rocket Brigade for Air Defense, Brigadier General Tiosav Janković, deputy shooting commander for the air defence rocket units at “Shabla 2019” exercise, pointed out that this year’s shooting performed by the units of the Serbian Armed Forces was remarkable.

– After 15 years, the servicemen of the “Strela-2M” performed successfully, and the hunter aviation has for the second time after 2011 performed an extraordinary targeting at this training grounds. We “racketeers” actually come here every second year, and this is the fifth shooting. From my point of view, I think it was very good and excellent, and truly commendable – said General Janković.

Speaking about the success of the shooting, General Janković pointed out that all the targets that were launched, four parachute and one radio-controlled RUM target, were hit and destroyed, and that three parachute targets launched for hunter aviation were also destroyed.

– Live firing is the crown of every training and it has a specific weight, because you can become a rocket officers only having completed this firing, said General Janković, adding that in such complex shooting situations, people become more hardened, more experienced and more capable when they return.

Among the participants of this year’s shooting at “Shabla” excellent results and hits were achieved by the Second Lieutenant Hristina Filipović, the Rocket Platoon Commander of the Artillery-Rocket Battery for the Short Range Air Defense at the Training Center of the Air Force and Air Defence. She is the first woman in our Armed Forces to perform Strela-2M firing and achieve a direct hit at this year’s exercise.

– I participated in the live firing using man-portable rocket system for Air Defense “Strela-2M”, and the task was to shoot moving targets. I had the honor to open the live shooting – said Second Lieutenant Filipović.

Speaking about the importance of the experience of participating in this shooting, she pointed out that this was an opportunity to apply the knowledge she gained during her education.

About 130 members of the Ministry of Defense and the Serbian Armed Forces participated in the joint shooting. The aim of the shooting exercise was to raise the level of capabilities of the Serbian Air Force units in protecting the airspace.

The Commandant of the exercise was Brigadier General of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, Peto Mirchev, and Deputy Head of the “Shabla 2019” exercise, Brigade General Aleksandar Bjelić.

This year’s exercise at “Shabla” gathered more than 1.400 participants, and members of the Serbian Armed Forces successfully carried out shooting exercises in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2017 at this training ground of the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

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