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Serbia Hopes for APC Sales to Iraq

Category: Defence Industry

Serbia Hopes for APC Sales to Iraq

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Serbia hopes to find an export market for its Lazar armored personnel carrier and believes Iraq may provide just such an opportunity, according to statements from the Serbian Defense Ministry.

During a visit last week to Iraq, Serbia's Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac and his delegation took note of the enthusiastic response to a presentation concerning the Lazar APC.

Serbia is keen on stressing close ties with the new Iraqi government and, in particular, reigniting its former relationship as a defense supplier to the country. Recent initiatives in the latter regard have come under scrutiny, as in the case of a controversial defense contract reached in December 2007, which Serbian authorities estimated to be $236 million (media reports placed the figure higher, at $833 million). The deal included one item in particular that raised eyebrows - the sale of between 20 and 35 piston-engine Lasta 95 light training aircraft. At the time of the deal, the Lasta 95 prototype remained under development and mass-production still has not begun.

As for the Lazar APC, it is produced by domestic firm and principal state arms exporter Yugoimport SDPR. Named after a 14th-century Serbian prince, the Lazar is an 8x8 armored vehicle. It is armed with a 20mm cannon main gun and capable of carrying up to 10 troops. The vehicle can be fitted with add-on armor, such as explosive-reactive armor and is protected against mines by its V-shaped hull and high ground clearance. The Serbian Army is expected to purchase the Lazar for its own use in the near future.

Forecast International

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