It is an aircraft rarely seen on our continent. However, several Y-20 transport aircraft were visible in Europe on the various sites displaying military aircraft in flight. It seems that these aircraft are flying between China and Serbia to deliver long-range anti-aircraft equipment.
This weekend, several sites that allow you to view individual aircraft in flight showed Chinese Air Force Y-20 transport aircraft heading to Belgrade (tweet attached). On Monday, April 11, at least four aircraft rotated again toward Serbia (see images below).
They were making a weapons delivery for the Serbian Army. Indeed, the latter is being equipped with FK-3 air defense system. This is the export version of the Chinese-designed HQ-22 and had been chosen by Serbia instead of the S-300 proposed by Russia. Various analyses suggest that this choice was confirmed by the lower price offered by the Chinese. This mobile surface-to-air missile launcher is equipped with a solid-fuel missile, weighing 300 kg, measuring 7 m and having a range of 170 km.
This is not the first time Serbia has turned to China. For example, in 2019, it chose to buy 9 CH-92A drones and 50 FT-8 laser-guided missiles. The first drones and missiles were delivered in 2020. The value of this contract is estimated at $30 million. Serbia remains open to other countries, however, as it recently purchased Mistral 3 MANPADs from France (MBDA). It also remains attached to Russia by purchasing 6 Pantsir-S1E in 2018 and 6 Pantsir-S1M in 2021. These last two examples, coupled with the arrival of HQ-22s demonstrates that the Serbian Army has renewed its short, medium and long range air defense.
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