"Big investments" predicted for Serbia's defense industry

BELGRADE -- Deputy PM and Defense Minister Aleksandar Vučić says EUR 160 million will be invested in Serbia's defense industry in the next three years.

Vučić at the fair on Tuesday (Tanjug)
Vučić at the fair on Tuesday (Tanjug)

Speaking on Tuesday in Belgrade, he added that EUR 75 million will be invested "this year only."

Vučić was touring Defense Expo Partner 2013 when he stressed that the investments would be "strictly controlled to ensure they were used for improving production."

"There is room for more jobs in the defense industry and potential for Serbia to show the world it can still do what it used to be most successful at," he noted, adding he expected new employees soon at Utva, a Pančevo based company that makes training aircraft.

"You could see here the significant improvements we have achieved when it comes to drones, radar systems, radiogoniometers and everything else the Military Technical Institute has designed and defense companies made," Vučić stated.

"It proves Serbia is capable of keeping up with world trends when it comes to the defense industry," he pointed out.

He was "particularly pleased," Tanjug reported, with the unveiling of the armored vehicle Lazar2, which was improved significantly compared to its predecessor.

"Lazar2 is up to three times cheaper than its counterpart from Finland, Patria, and its advantages in price and equipment are proven by the fact that buyers have already been found and that 3 vehicles have been sold to Pakistan,"Vučić said.

Commenting on the negotiations with the Russian side about buying new combat aircraft, Vučić remarked he expected "a new round of talks in order to find the best arrangement for Serbia."