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Serbian exercise demonstrates UAE-supplied and indigenously developed loitering munitions

An EDGE SM1 loitering munition in Serbian service, seen in exercises in July 2024. (Serbian MoD)

The Serbian Armed Forces (Vojska Srbije: VS) was noted operating both United Arab Emirates (UAE)-supplied and domestically sourced fixed-wing loitering munitions during a recent military manoeuvre.

Exercise ‘Vatreni udar 2024' (Fire strike 2024) held at the Pasuljanske Livade training ground in central Serbia on 4 July saw the use of the UAE-built EDGE Group SM1 and SM2 as well as the Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD) Military Technical Institute (VojnoTehnički Institut: VTI)-developed Osica (Small Wasp) and Komarac-2 (Mosquito-2) loitering munitions.

While the larger SM2 was seen overflying outside the exercise area, the smaller SM1 actively participated in the exercise, crashing into a ground target with a simulated explosion. Nenad Miloradović, assistant minister for material resources at the Serbian MoD, said the SM1 will provide “far more destructive effects [on enemy manpower and vehicles] in a 100×50 m area if the real warhead was used”.

Miloradović explained that the SM1 loitering munition shown at the exercise was operated by soldiers of the Niš-based Mixed Artillery Brigade (Mešovita artiljerijska brigada), which is a unit tasked to provide artillery support to the Serbian Army (Kopnena vojska Srbije: KoV). He gave no further details on SM1, except saying “it has [a] range far, far beyond that of the Osica”.

Also demonstrated at the exercise, Osica is described by the MoD as a loitering munition that can circulate the battlefield for up to 30 minutes at a distance of 20 km, and attack all targets, including armoured vehicles. It has a 1.5 kg warhead and can penetrate 500 mm of homogeneous steel. It is derived from the Yugoslav-made M79 Osa (Wasp) portable anti-tank weapon.

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