International Arms and Military Equipment Fair “PARTNER 2023“ opened

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Miloš Vučević opened the 11th International Arms and Military Equipment Fair at the Belgrade Fair today, in the presence of the Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, General Milan Mojsilović.
The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of the National Assembly, government ministers, representatives of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces, diplomatic and military diplomatic corps, Serbian Defence Industry companies, business people, public figures and numerous foreign delegations.

Greeting those present, Minister Vučević said that the Arms and Military Equipment Fair PARTNER exhibits a continuous upward trend in the number of exhibitors, assets displayed, business associates and visitors present.

- At the regional level, "PARTNER" has acquired the status of one of the largest and most significant arms fairs, and it aims to gain even more visibility on the world map of such events. This year, 154 domestic and foreign exhibitors are showcasing their weapons and military equipment, more than 30 high-level foreign delegations and more than 7,000 professional participants and visitors are in attendance. The further advancement of military-technical and military-economic cooperation, as well as joint projects to develop and equip the armed forces, will be discussed with numerous foreign military delegations. Representative products from the production range of all the factories belonging to the Serbian Defence Industry and their subcontractors are exhibited at the fair, as well as the products manufactured by the leading European companies from France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Türkiye, Switzerland, Finland, several technological giants from the People's Republic of China, and companies from other countries in our region, but also from all over the world, with whom we have maintained successful cooperation for decades - said Minister Vučević.
According to him, more than 170 types of large weapons are displayed at the fair, 27 of which belong to the group of new products developed by the Military Technical Institute and the state-owned group of defence industry companies.
- In addition, numerous new weapons and components are showcased by Serbian private companies. There are evidently more novelty items at this fair than at previous ones, which testifies to the constant and continuous advancement of our defence technology. A number of new anti-aircraft and anti-drone systems, unmanned ground and aerial platforms are displayed, as well as numerous types of new and improved ammunition. We will also see the first public display of “Perun“, the latest next generation domestic artillery system, which will be the greatest asset of the Serbian Defence Industry on the world market. There are also improved series of wheeled combat vehicles - "Lazar", "Miloš", MRAP, BoV, whose production is in full swing, as well as the modernized BVP M 80a B2 and the M 84 AS2 tank, which the Serbian Armed Forces are being equipped with - said Minister Vučević.
According to the Minister of Defence, 70 new assets have entered service since the previous PARTNER, 22 of which are in serial production.
  - I would like to single out the modernized M 84 AS2 tank, BVP M 80 AB2, "Gvozdika", KOT, "Orao" (Eagle), new MRAP combat vehicles, "Lazar 3M", the new modular 6.5 and 7.62 mm automatic rifle and new sniper rifles. We are looking forward to the introduction of another 23 new assets by the end of the year. As a result of the accelerated and successful development of next generation weapons that has taken place since the previous fair, contracts have been signed with the domestic industry to produce equipment for the Serbian Armed Forces the value of which exceeds the value of all the contracts signed in the twenty-year period prior to 2015. In the last month a half alone, the Ministry of Defence has signed contracts with domestic factories for the delivery of RSD 6.2 billion worth of weapons, which will be delivered to the Serbian Armed Forces in the coming period. During the arms fair, the signing of new contracts worth twice as much is expected, which is only a part of the intensified process of supplying the Serbian Armed Forces with domestically produced weapons – said Minister Vučević.
In addition to the continued delivery of domestic complex combat systems, he said, substantial quantities of new small arms, optronic systems, improved artillery mortar and rifle ammunition, protective ballistic equipment, uniforms and other equipment will be delivered to the Serbian Armed Forces by the end of the year.
- In addition to the procurement of the aforementioned domestic industry products, and based on the contracts we have signed and defined in the period between the two fairs, by the end of the year we expect the delivery of imported capital weapons systems - transport aircraft, including one CASA that arrives in Serbia today, H-145 helicopters produced by Airbus, long-range Thales GM400 radars, as well as several other telecommunication, optronic and electronic devices, which will further enhance the capabilities of the Serbian Armed Forces. Significant investment in our defence industry has facilitated the modernization of our production facilities and created preconditions for a faster development of new products. The new investments provided this year have initiated the next phase in the progressive technological advancement based on Industry 4.0, with an emphasis on automation, digitization, robotization, the key production processes. The realization of these investments and further modernization of production facilities will facilitate a much faster production of these armaments – Minister Vučević said.
He also said that the attendance of foreign delegations, which traditionally visit the PARTNER fair, was very important.

- We are here today with our international friends and partners. Some of them are the users of our products, others are representatives of the countries from which Serbia purchases specific systems and components that are not produced in our country, and with some others we have joint development projects that will produce new combat systems for the Serbian Armed Forces and third markets. Dear guests, I am certain that during your stay in Serbia, you will enjoy the traditional Serbian hospitality, that you will get the chance to establish new business connections and partnerships, that you will be able to exchange experiences and identify new directions and ways to develop production facilities of the defence industry so that it can efficiently respond to contemporary, and I would say daily, security challenges, and ensure the protection of the national sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia and our national interests, and address the needs of the 21 century market – concluded Minister Vučević declaring this year’s PARTNER open.

As part of the opening ceremony, the guests were shown a film about the achievements of the Defence Industry of the Republic of Serbia. Following the opening ceremony, Minister Vučević and General Mojsilović took a tour of the exhibition in Belgrade Fair’s halls, visiting the stands of domestic and foreign companies, accompanied by Assistant Minister for Material Resources Nenad Miloradović, PhD.
Following his tour of the exhibition, Minister Vučević addressed the journalists saying that he was proud of all the people, organizations, institutions, companies, foreign partners, the Serbian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence that were involved in the organization of PARTNER 2023.

-  This is the best indicator, in this context, of the progress of our defence industry, technology in general, science, knowledge, skills, equipment, capabilities of our military, state, but this is also confirmation of good business and political relations with participating countries and companies coming from those countries - said the Minister of Defence and emphasized the importance of a large number of exhibitors from all over the world, stressing that in the coming days, major contracts significant for the Serbian Armed Forces would be concluded.

Referring to the events in Kosovo and Metohija, the Minister of Defence said that it was not easy to organize the arms fair in the circumstances surrounding us.
- Let's not be naive and pretend that what has been happening for days, weeks and months in Kosovo and Metohija, including yesterday’s events, has not been happening. These are big and serious challenges for our country, an almost impossible situation for the Serbian people living in Kosovo and Metohija, and I will briefly summarize it by repeating the position of the Republic of Serbia - that Albin Kurti's policy, he himself, is the sole culprit for everything that is happening in Kosovo and Metohija. We expect KFOR to play a far more active role and not to allow the Serbs to be hunted until the last of them is exterminated - emphasized Minister Vučević.

PARTNER is the largest and most important arms and military equipment fair in the region and an opportunity for numerous domestic and foreign manufacturers to showcase their products during the four-day event. The sponsor this year is the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia, and the co-organizers are "Yugoimport-SDPR" and the Belgrade Fair. Besides the companies belonging to the Serbian Defence Industry Group, which together with PE "Yugoimport-SDPR" represent Serbia’s main potential in the field of armaments and military equipment, PARTNER traditionally brings together numerous weapons and military equipment manufacturers from the Republic of Serbia.

The International Arms and Military Equipment Fair "PARTNER 2023" is open until September 28, 2023, at the Belgrade Fair (Halls 1, 4 and 2A, and the open air exhibition area).
Minister Vucevic's address
Minister Vucevic's statement
Interantional Arms and Military Equipment Fair "PARTNER 2023"