A Huge Step Forward That Has Been Awaited Since 1991
(Source: Serbian Ministry of Defence; issued June 8, 2020)
Serbia’s M-84 main battle tank, a locally-produced variant of the Russian T-72, entered service in 1984 and its modernization began in 1991 but was never completed because of the Yugoslav civil war. It is now being completed almost 30 years later. (Serbia MoD photo)
Today, the Minister of Defence, Aleksandar Vulin, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces attended the presentation of the modernized M-84 tank at the "Čačak" Technical Overhaul Institute.

After the presentation, Minister Vulin pointed out that the Serbian Armed Forces are certainly a regional tank force and one of the most powerful tank nations in the whole of Europe.

“Thanks to the modernization that we have started and that will be designated as M-84 AS1, we will be able to say that we are one of the most modern tank forces, not only in the region, but in the whole of Europe. The Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, President Aleksandar Vučić, demanded that all our existing potentials be used and improved, that our wits and our rich war and combat experience be used in the first place, in order to get the product that our armed forces need so much,” Minister Vulin emphasized.

According to him, the Serbian Armed Forces are being modernized, equipped, strengthened and all their segments deserve equal attention.

“In the previous years, we paid special attention to our Air Force and Air Defence, but now it is the Army's turn. This is a revolutionary and huge step forward. When the M-84 was built 36 years ago, its modernization began in 1991 and was never completed. This is the first time that a modernization of M-84 is being completed, this is its first phase and we will continue to improve our field strength and our armoured units’ capabilities. We are working on artillery, on armoured units, infantry and hand weapons of all our infantry members,” Minister Vulin pointed out, adding that the Serbian Armed Forces are being equipped and strengthened, not only to be the largest or most numerous, but also to be the most modern.

Having in mind the potentials of the M-84 tank platform, the Serbian Armed Forces will carry out the modernization of this tank in two stages, eight subsystems in the first stage and another 12 in the second, announced the Assistant Minister for Material Resources, Nenad Miloradović, PhD, emphasizing that practically all vital subsystems will be updated with new technologies in this way.

“At today's meeting of the tank modernization working group, chaired by Major General Želimir Glišović, we got acquainted with the achieved level of development. First of all, improvements have been made in the protection of tanks from all types of current threats - modern anti-tank missiles, modern tandem cumulative anti-armour missiles and the so-called "top attack" ammunition. This is the main segment at this stage.”

“Also, we have improved the situational awareness of all crew members, especially the commander’s, with his 360-degree surveillance system and a remote-controlled combat station that has a special fire-control system and thermal imaging camera and allows the commander to operate successfully in specific situations, in ambushes, in a populated area, etc.,” Miloradović explains and adds that the beginning of serial modernization of tanks in this phase is expected by the end of the year.

The director of the "Čačak" Technical Overhaul Institute, Colonel Vojkan Radonjić, said that the Institute is in charge of the modernization of the M-84 tank, which is, as he pointed out, "the most widely used asset in the units of the Serbian Armed Forces".

“In this way, the Institute employs its capacities and transfers the experiences acquired during the maintenance of these assets. By carrying out this task, the Institute modernizes its capacities and equipment and assists the Military Technical Institute in performing the modernization. The tank’s armoured and optoelectronic protection, new caterpillars [tracks] and gun barrel have been modernized, and the complete digitization of the commander’s, gunman’s and driver’s positions has been implemented.

“It is important for the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces that, by investing in the capacities of the Institute, rationality and autonomy of further maintenance of this asset during its life cycle is achieved,” Colonel Radonjić emphasized and added that the Institute thus helps develop operational and functional capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces.

The presentation was also attended by the Head of the Operations Department of the General Staff, Major General Želimir Glišović, the Deputy Army Commander, Brigadier General Vladeta Baltić, and the Commander of the Second Army Brigade, Brigadier General Željko Kuzmanović.

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