The Balkan countries heavily armed with jets, tanks and defense systems

The Balkan countries heavily armed with jets, tanks and defense systems

 The escalation of tensions between Russia and the United States is being widely reflected in the Balkans, where most countries, despite limited financial opportunities, are preparing for the worst.

Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece are refurbishing their armaments, mainly focused on the air fleet. Theri biggest problem is Turkey.

"The game" was opened by Serbia, initially with a number of aircraft that were donated to Belgrade by Russia and then by the purchase of some of the more advanced multifunctional systems. It is about the anti-aircraft protection systems, the S-300, the predecessor of the famous S-400, the Russian production that is considered the most effective in the world.

Serbia bought ifrom Belarus in November 2017 the S-300 and six MiG-29 military jets, while later Russia donated nine other planes of the same type. At that time, Moscow promised Belgrade to send 30 tanks and 30 other armored vehicles as a gift, but there is no information as to whether or not these vehicles have arrived.

Croatia, on the other hand, is heading east to renovate its air fleet. Zagreb signed in 2013 a contract with Israel for 12 F-16 aircraft, for a total value of $ 500 million, at least according to official data released at that time.

But that was not enough! The Croatian Defense Ministry announced in March of this year that has accepted Israel's bid to buy an indefinite number of multifunctional fighter jets for a value that is not made public.

And in March of this year, Bulgaria jumped into the arms market. The Defense Ministry opened a tender hosting the best offers for "used" F-16 American aircraft, or the Swedish Saab Jas 39 Gripen, British Typhoon, and French Mirage.

These jets, according to official Sofia, will be used to replace the Soviet air fleet. The fund set for this purpose, but also for the purchase of armored vehicles is $ 946 million.

Even the neighboring Macedonia is engaged "as much as possible" to get armed. In 2017, Skopje had several transport and fighters helicopters. Also a range of ground armor was taken.

Greece has spend the most of all the Balkan countries, fueled by the harsher tensions with Turkey. Athens plans to strengthen within a few years with an F-16 fleet purchased directly from the United States, in an operation that will cost $ 2.4 billion.

The Greek government's move was criticized inside and outside the country as it is to a time when the country did not recovered yet from the profound financial and economic crisis that had since 2008. But Alexis Tsipras defended himself  this purchase in Parliament home. He said that with this purchase the Greece guarantees its territorial security and sovereignty for the coming years and does not infringe the pockets of the citizens.

Turkey, on the other hand, has invested over the years in its air fleet, tanks and anti-aircraft protection systems. Ankara, a NATO member, has recently signed an agreement with Russia on the purchase of S-400 anti-missile systems, a US-criticized move that says these systems do not meet the Alliance's parameters.

Romania, on the other hand, was involved in talks to buy 36 F-16 aircraft directly from the United States. In September 2017, local media reported that three of these jets are purchased, while in 2016 they received 9 combat aircraft of the same model from Portugal.

In 2017, Bucharest spent 1.07 billion euros for the military, and since 2016 maintains the NATO shield against ballistic missiles, located in the south-western part of the Deveselu region.
The Balkan countries heavily armed with jets, tanks and defense systems The Balkan countries heavily armed with jets, tanks and defense systems Sunday, April 29, 2018 Rating: 5
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