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In 2022, China will overwhelm Russia with new cars – I

It’s no secret that the Russian automotive market is going through hard times. Nevertheless, it is interesting that for manufacturers from the Middle Kingdom it is of particular interest. China will overwhelm Russia with new cars in 2022.

Many representatives of Chinese auto brands ambitiously declare that Russia is a priority market for them. That gives certain hopes for the development of its individual niches.

With all this, in 2022 we will already be able to observe the escalation of new models. From crossovers to electric vehicles, and then they will all be listed. So, let’s look at what will go on sale in Russia this year.

Changan

Perhaps the main novelty from this brand should be the UNI-K crossover. It can be seen in the showroom at dealers in March 2022. The car has a fundamentally new approach to design and it is worth noting that visually. It looks very impressive. In addition, Uni-K’s technology is technologically advanced. 2.0-liter engine generates 174 Kw and is combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission. That creates a number of prerequisites for competition with eminent opponents in the large-size SUV segment.

Two off-road vehicles will arrive in time for the summer – CS35 Plus and CS55 Plus. The model with the 35th index will be updated, but mostly cosmetically: the optics and a number of body elements have changed, and more functional multimedia has been installed in the cabin. As for the CS55, it is already the second generation and has grown somewhat in size, while it will be powered by a 1.5-liter turbo engine, which is combined with a seven-speed “robot”.

Chery

This manufacturer in Russia, without exaggeration, is one of the most active in terms of the number of updates to its lineup. This can be seen from last year. In the current one, we are expecting another parade of premieres from Cherie.

First, it is worth noting the release of the Tiggo 4 Pro model. The machine is based on the platform of the usual Tiggo 4 and is a more refined version than before. Basically, the bet is made on equipment, while the technology and even the corporate style in the design have not undergone fundamental innovations.

The next model in line is the Omoda 5. It is remarkable in that it opens up a whole new family of Chery SUVs that will have a premium accent. The crossover will be equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter with 197 Nm.

Another high-profile premiere from Cherie should be the EQ5 electric crossover. It should start sales of relatively affordable SUVs with an alternative type of power plant. A feature of the novelty is the power reserve, which is available on a full charge of the top-end battery – up to 510 kilometers.

We will come back with more news on the Chinese car industry “invasion” on Russian market.

Why is the president of Argentina going to Russia and China?

At a critical juncture in Argentina’s $40 billion IMF debt talks, President Alberto Fernandez will travel to China on Feb. 2, stopping in Russia en route. The reasons and purpose of the trip are reported by the Argentine news agency Pagina12

The most important political aspect of the trip is joining China’s new Silk Road, a strategic investment project in regional infrastructure promoted by Beijing. The visit to Asia will pave the way for many projects launched after the signing of a bilateral cooperation agreement during the Kirchner period . The main project financed by China will be the construction of the fourth nuclear power plant. Beijing will invest more than $7.9 billion in it, which will be 85% of the total project budget.

The issue of attracting investments from Russia was not officially discussed, however, some facts point to the possibility of its implementation. The last major investment was made at the end of December, when the government won a $864 million tender to supply 70 electric trains from Russia’s TransMashHolding.

Total trade with China

It is also known about negotiations with Lukoil , which is interested in the Vaca Muerta shale oil field in Neuquen, Argentina. The company plans to implement a project to develop it jointly with the Argentinean oil and gas company YPF.

As for nuclear energy, Rosatom also plans to take part in the construction of a nuclear power plant in Argentina. The company also plans to conduct research into the peaceful atom.

Argentinian experts compare Russia and China as a South American country, noting that “Russians are more difficult as they are forced to inherit complicated geopolitical relations with the American region and also enter the market with a state-run market economy” . China, on the other hand, has “more capital” and intends to invest in infrastructure and geopolitics much more than Russia.


Spectacular Turkey: Central Anatolia itinerary

Turkey outside of all inclusive hotels

How the United States is destroying the industry of Europe?

2022 promises to be a very difficult year for the European economy. The German “greens” under the flag of ecology staged a blackout in the country. According to open data, many European enterprises decide to close production until better times. Who benefits from all this?

Gloomy prospects

At the time of this writing, gas prices at European hubs are around $1100-1200 per thousand m³. This is 12 times more expensive than a year earlier. Many agencies predict that this trend will continue. And the margin of safety of the industry is already at the limit. 

The decline in gas prices in Europe at the end of December was due not only to the warming weather, but also to the fact that many enterprises simply began to stop production. As a result, gas consumption also decreased. 

“The sky-high prices for natural gas provoked massive reductions in industrial production. In the fourth quarter, the UK industry reduced gas consumption by 54%, and Northern Europe in the last week of 2021 by 7%,” Bloomberg reporter Stephen Staprzynski tweeted.

Recall that the producers of nitrogen fertilizers were the first to feel the impact of the energy shortage. They started closing back in October last year.

The actions of gas exporters demonstrate that they do not intend to lower gas prices below $1,000 per thousand m³. This is clearly evidenced by the reduction of supplies to Europe by Gazprom to a 6-year minimum and the turn of American LNG tankers to Asia. We wrote about thishere 

After all, the goal of each manufacturer is to get the maximum profit with the minimum amount of transportation.

With such energy prices, many European enterprises are not competitive, and no one needs their goods. Here and the Bloomberg edition asserts that the tendency to reduce production in Europe will continue. And you have not forgotten that Bloomberg is one of the leading American media, not European ones.

Blackout in Berlin

The imbalance of the EU energy system is not only hitting industrialists and businessmen, but also the population. For example, on January 9, a major blackout was recorded in Berlin. An accident occurred due to overloads in the power system:

“On Sunday, January 9, in the afternoon, part of Berlin experienced a blackout. More than 180,000 residents and four hospitals in the German capital were left without electricity and heat supply. Heat supply was fully restored only by Monday morning.

At about 2 p.m. local time, the Klingenberg combined heat and power plant went out of order. “Due to a fault in the external power grid, the CHP plant went out of service,” a spokesman for Vattenfall told Der Tagesspiegel. “A defect “worked” at one of the substations, which affected only the gas-fired thermal power plant,” Interfax reports.

At the same time, the district office of Lichtenberg County advised residents to keep warm with extra clothes and blankets, and not to use a gas stove to heat the apartment.

Such incidents occur due to the imbalance of the power system. After all, some of its nodes are extremely loaded due to the lack of certain types of energy carriers or the rejection of them due to pressure from the “greens”. 

It would seem that a quick certification of SP-2 can save the EU from this. So what’s stopping you?

American footprint

Russia mainly supplies gas under long-term contracts, which are signed for 10-20 years or more. At the same time, consumers receive fairly cheap gas, which is not strongly dependent on prices in the spot markets. 

Gazprom insists that the long-term contract is a guarantee that the gas it produces will be in demand. And the company produces gas under these guarantees. But European politicians, for some reason, oppose both the certification of SP-2 and long-term contracts. 

And yet the general attack comes from the United States. With enviable regularity, bills are submitted to the Senate imposing sanctions not only against Nord Stream 2, but also against any companies or commercial enterprises that will cooperate with this project. 

That is, a conditional German company that buys gas through this gas pipeline is proposed to be banned from cooperating with American corporations and absolutely any activity in the United States. 

So Washington is directly involved in the energy crisis in the EU, in the de-industrialization of the European economy. Question: What is the likelihood that European politicians who oppose SP2 are covert agents of influence?

On the other hand, the German newspaper Bild recently reported that the new Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, has been preparing for a meeting with the Russian president for 2 weeks. He plans to do so as early as January 2022. Experts confirm that closed talks with the United States have greatly alarmed the new German prime minister. I wonder why? Apparently, the Germans have something to say in this situation.

Gazprom manipulates European shortsightedness 

On January 14, it became known that the Russian gas monopoly filed a lawsuit against the Polish state-owned company PGNiG for $7.4 billion. According to Gazprom, since 2017 it has been selling gas to Poland at a reduced price. 

Recall that in 2020, Poland won a lawsuit against Gazprom for $1.5 billion. The Polish side appealed to the prevailing gas price on the spot market below $100 per thousand m³. 

In other words, the Poles thus created a dangerous precedent. And therefore, using the same argument about the gas price at the current moment in the region of $1,000, the Russian gas monopolist has the right to sue Warsaw for the lost profit since 2017. Thus, one more short-sightedness of the supporters of progressive ideas in the energy sector was revealed. 

It makes you think. Could the organizers of the ecological transition be aware of the consequences of their decisions? Or did they really mean it? Investigative practice in such cases recommends looking for someone who benefits. Then is it possible to assume that they were sponsored by mining companies, for example, from the USA? Or maybe from Russia? Or maybe USA and Russia collaborated?

These questions will probably remain unanswered. 

Why is the United States deliberately destroying the French military-industrial complex?

The French military-industrial complex is unique in its essence and has no analogues in Europe (except for Russia). In the world it lags behind only the United States. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that the Americans are actively sabotaging French orders and intercepting them without ceremony with their “partner”.

“The French defense industry is unique in the West. It is the only one, besides the US military-industrial complex, capable of designing and producing all military systems: armored vehicles, combat aircraft, submarines, helicopters, missiles, radars, space systems …” – Military Review .

Everyone remembers the famous story of the Mistral helicopter carriers, which France during the time of François Hollande refused to transfer to Russia under US pressure and then paid our country an astronomical fine. 

Also in the fall of last year, the Americans “threw” France with the order of nuclear submarines for Australia, forcing the latter to abandon the contract in favor of their technologies. But these are far from isolated cases. The United States has been methodically strangling a strong competitor from the international arms market for a long time. 

In 2016, the Polish authorities unexpectedly canceled the contract for the supply of 50 military transport helicopters H225M Caracal. Or last year, after the visit of US President Joe Biden to Geneva (in 2021 for negotiations with Vladimir Putin), Switzerland suddenly called the F-35 “the best aircraft” and refused to purchase all other options, including … the French fighter Rafale … Coincidence?

The list is long

The list of refusals is endless: from corvettes for Qatar to the notorious submarines for Australia. And at the end of 2021, Washington is actively trying to squeeze the Rafale out of the Indonesian tender in order to impose its F-16 Viper.

Paris is naturally not happy with this “policy”. But the world market regulator capable of restraining the Americans does not exist at the moment. Market relations just don’t work here. Otherwise, no one would buy, for example, expensive American fighters at a loss. But this is the harsh reality. For example, the same French Suffren-class nuclear submarine costs about 1 billion euros, and the American Virginia – already at $ 3.5 billion, although it is inferior to that in terms of maneuverability efficiency.

The collapse of the French military-industrial complex is both commercial and strategic. Having eliminated a direct competitor, the Americans, in fact, will not leave potential customers with a choice. As a result, Americans will become monopolists dictating their own terms. And Paris, having lost its own military-industrial complex, will lose its sovereignty. What kind of European army can we talk about without its own weapons?

Mistral

‘The country that bombed you is your friend…

The one that built your new railway is your enemy’

This is the Western media’s bizarre messaging to the people of Laos. The nation that was carpet-bombed by America, and which is now being vilified for accepting a new $9 billion railway line paid for by China.

Tom Fowdy

is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

Thursday was National Day in Laos. A celebration marking 46 years since the landlocked Southeast Asian nation deposed its monarchy and became a revolutionary communist state. An effort which was supported by Vietnam.

This year, the anniversary had added significance, as it saw the opening of a major new project. It is an electrified high-speed and freight railway system connecting the capital city, Vientiane with its northern neighbour, China. 

The $9 billion project is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and has been hailed as one of its flagship achievements. It is the first commercial and industrial railway in Laos, which, given its geography and the fact it is surrounded by mountainous terrain, has not previously had many options to expand its exports and generate economic growth.

Now, though, it has a direct rapid link into the world’s second largest economy and the world’s largest consumer market by population, and a connection to the booming ports of Guangdong. In terms of what it will bring to Laos, it is a game changer. So, what’s not to like about it?

To nobody’s surprise, the mainstream media have responded to the railway with the usual anti-China negativity. A plethora of articles sought to paint the project as a ‘debt trap’. Promoting the accusation that Beijing loans countries money for projects they cannot afford and then exerts political leverage over it. 

”China, but at what cost?”

The Financial Times, for one, ran with a cynical article headlined ‘Laos to open Chinese-built railway amid fears of Beijing’s influence’. It implied that somehow Laos feels threatened or fears the construction of this very pioneering railway project. This suggestion of ‘fears of Chinese influence’ has become a common feature on such stories. It seek to cast doubt over anything positive China may be achieving or doing. 

A common Twitter meme among pro-China users which has followed from stories like this asks: “but at what cost?” highlighting the frequency of such negative coverage.

And if you Google “China, but at what cost?” you can find a great many examples of articles published in major outlets. In producing such pieces, the broader intention is to depict Beijing’s actions as unwanted, threatening and constantly facing opposition. In the case of the Laos railway project, the ‘problem’ is it was financed by debt, and therefore it is not a positive step.

Yet this argument is as insulting as it is outright insensitive to Laos’ contemporary history. Anyone who knows anything about Laos’ relatively recent past will be well aware that China is not the country to fear, but the United States – the nation that dropped over 260 million cluster bombs on Laos and completely devastated the country as an extension of the Vietnam War, making it the most single bombed nation in history and claiming over 50,000 lives. 

What is the cost of unexploded bombs clearing?

Many of these bombs remain unexploded and litter the countryside of Laos, continuing to kill civilians. In constructing the new railway, workers first had to clear the unexploded ordnance. How is it that the world and the mainstream media remain indifferent to this atrocity? And how, by any stretch of the imagination, can they claim that China is the true threat to Laos, and that the US and its allies act in the true interests of the country?

Herein lies the problem. Such a mindset symbolizes the elitism, chauvinism and self-righteousness of the countries of the West. Countries which are ideologically inclined to believe that they stand for the ‘true interests’ of the ordinary people in the countries they profess to liberate. 

Western politics peddles the assumption that through countries’ adherence to liberal democracy, they exclusively hold a single, universal, impartial, and moralistic truth, derived from the ontological legacy of Christianity, and they must introduce it to others. The West always acts truthfully and in good faith, while its enemies do not. And therefore, so the logic goes, any policy the US or its allies direct towards Laos is motivated by sincere intent and goodwill for its interests. In turn, anything that China does is bad-faith, expansionist and power-hungry behaviour motivated by a desire to influence or control the country. 

This creates the bizarre scenario whereby Beijing is depicted as evil and sinister for building a railway to connect to its neighbour. However, we should forget America dropping millions of bombs on the country because it was done in the name of ‘freedom’. I’m sure you can imagine how the media would react if China did the latter.

Pro US media distorting reality

The Laos-China railway has provided a textbook example of how the media can distort a story in order to fortify an incriminating narrative, while brushing aside brutal realities. We are shown a lopsided world, where the travesty of a country being bombed into oblivion with consequences lasting decades is ignored, and the preference is to try to convince us how that same country’s first commercial railway line is, in fact, what it should really be scared of. 

It is a demonstration of how the power of the English-language, pro-US media distorts reality itself and how they can blow up an issue, yet hide the truth, by professing to care dearly about the wellbeing and interests of a country which the West poured death, destruction, and carnage upon in the name of freedom.

Moscow tries to find a balance between Beijing and Delhi

Relations with the two giants of Asia – China, and India is for Russia one of the main foreign policy plots of the year. Beijing and Delhi, which are part of the Russia-India-China (RIC) alliance. As well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and other organizations. It is a serious challenge to Russia’s strategy of turning to the East. Moscow is forced to balance the two centers of power in Asia. It must not allow their conflict to complicate strategic partnership with each side.

The intrigue in Russia’s relations with two strategic partners and implacable opponents in Asia, who are zealously following each other’s steps, reached a climax at the end of the year, when, with an interval of one and a half weeks, on December 6 and 15, the Russian-Indian, and then the Russian -Chinese Summit.

At the same time, in the short interval between them, on December 9, a Russian-American summit was also held in the format of a videoconference. It was already the second this year.

Vladimir Putin’s second foreign trip during the pandemic, who had previously flown from Moscow only once – to the summit with US President Joe Biden in Geneva in June this year, was intended not only to reaffirm the importance that Moscow attaches to relations with Delhi, which has an official status ” especially privileged strategic partnership ”.

Throughout the year, there were numerous signals that relations between Russia and India, despite their strength, are developing in an environment of heightened geopolitical turbulence and a risk zone created by both the confrontation between Russia and the United States and the aggravation of India’s relations with China.

India entering the QUAD alliance

So, this year, India entered the new Indo-Pacific alliance QUAD (USA, Japan, India, Australia), which openly aims to contain the growing influence of China. The emergence of QUAD was bad news not only for Beijing but also for Moscow. Moreover, India, which actively supported this American geopolitical project QUAD, together with China, is included in the RIC triangle (Russia-India-China). In addition, India and China are partners in the SCO, BRICS, and other organizations.

Even before the creation of QUAD, at the very beginning of the year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made a resonant statement that, in its confrontation with China, the United States is increasingly trying to make Beijing and Delhi quarrel, increasing pressure on India.

Despite the absence of an official reaction from the Indian side, this assessment caused bewilderment among many in Delhi: numerous interlocutors of Kommersant, including experts and former ambassadors to the Russian Federation, insisted that the conflict between India and China has purely internal roots and is associated with increasingly active Beijing’s attempts to change the status quo on the demarcation line with India in East Ladakh.

The ambiguity that arose, apparently, was to be eliminated by the Russian-Indian summit, the holding of which acquired special significance for each of the parties.

Drawing attention to the importance of a personal meeting between the leaders of the two countries, the aide to the Russian president, Yuri Ushakov, who accompanied him on his trip to Delhi, recalled that one of the mechanisms of their dialogue was informal one-on-one communication.

India – Russia summit

According to Mr. Ushakov, this allows Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi to discuss “the most difficult, most delicate issues of the international situation.”

The main result of the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi was the signing of a joint statement “Russia – India: partnership for peace, progress and prosperity.”

This document lists in detail the most promising areas of bilateral cooperation designed to give a new acceleration to the specially privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India.

After his trip to Delhi, Vladimir Putin held the second summit this year with US President Joe Biden.

Against this background, a certain pause in the Russian-Chinese dialogue at the highest level became more and more noticeable. The previous talks between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, held in the format of a video conference, took place on June 28 and were timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Russian-Chinese Treaty on Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, which was extended for another five years this year.

Apparently, the fears of the Chinese side that Moscow will reach some separate agreements with Washington behind Beijing’s back, and will also begin to take into account the Indian position in the region to the detriment of China’s interests, and predetermined the decision to hold the second Russian-Chinese summit. 

Video Conference between Xi Jinping and Putin

Like the first meeting of the two leaders, it was held in the format of a video conference, given that Chinese President Xi Jinping has never left the country in the two years of the pandemic. In addition, in September, he turned down an offer by US President Joe Biden to hold a face-to-face US-China summit to begin the process of de-escalation in relations between Washington and Beijing.

Thus, after the Russian-Indian and Russian-American summits held in the first ten days of December, Beijing still managed to retain the final say.

The “Chinese ending” of Moscow’s diplomatic year turned out to be very effective on the outside, despite the distance communication between the two leaders, which lasted an hour and a half (the summits of Vladimir Putin with Narendra Modi and Joe Biden were longer). So, with Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin talked face-to-face for three and a half hours, and with Joe Biden, he had a two-hour conversation.

Not limiting themselves to summing up the results of 2021 and demonstrating personal friendship, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping made it clear that Moscow and Beijing, which have not entered into formal allied relations, are already acting as allies.

Speaking with his Chinese counterpart, Vladimir Putin confirmed his plans to attend the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing in February.

A new page in Chinese-Russian relations

Thus, he struck a blow at the idea of ​​a political boycott of the Olympics, which the United States and its allies are calling for. “I look forward to our Olympic meeting with you. I am ready to go forward with you hand in hand, together to open a new page in Chinese-Russian relations in the post-pandemic period, “Xi Jinping reacted to this. “The world has entered a period of turbulence and great change. Sino-Russian relations, having withstood all kinds of tests, have shown strong vitality, acquired a new breath, ”he added, also thanking Vladimir Putin for not allowing the West to“ drive a wedge ”between Moscow and Beijing.

Analyzing the ambiguous situation in the Russia-India-China triangle, which is increasingly influenced by the activity of the United States, which is moving closer to Delhi and continuing to put pressure on Beijing and Moscow, Alexei Maslov, director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University, notes: “We admit that India is much less interesting for American investors than China. Despite all the contradictions between Washington and Beijing, private American business relies on China, given the huge number of preferences, excellent logistics, and full vertical integration of the production of any product. In addition, many American investors choose Chinese government securities for investments as they are quite reliable, which cannot be said about Indian assets.

But the idea of ​​developing special, that is, free from one-sided bias, Russian-Indian relations can be quite productive for Moscow. India can support the idea of ​​a Greater Eurasian space, to which China is still skeptical, and integrate into a new political and economic sphere, where it can be one of the leaders outside the opinion of Washington or Beijing.”


Sergey Strokan

Australia & Serbia potential buyers of T-7A Red Hawk

Australia is looking to replace older jet trainers, but Serbia could be first to adopt the jet in a combat role

Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer, which it developed together with Swedish aviation firm Saab for the U.S. Air Force, is already generating interest on the international market. The T-7A, which could also have a future as a light combat aircraft, is now officially in the running to replace the Royal Australian Air Force’s BAE Hawk jet trainers and could be an option to supplant the Serbian Air Force’s G-4 Super Galeb jet trainers and J-22 Orao ground attack planes.

Boeing officially announced that it had submitted the T-7A for Australia AIR 6002 Phase 1 future Lead-In Fighter Training System (LIFTS) competition on July 30, 2020, according to FlightGlobal. This was five days after Nenad Miloradovic, Serbia’s Acting Assistant Minister of Defense for Material Resources, said his country was exploring the possibility of buying Red Hawks in a televised interview, which Jane’s was first to report on.

“The T-7, which is scalable, interoperable and configurable, is ideally suited to address the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) next-generation frontline fast-jet aircraft training requirements,” Boeing said in a statement to FlightGlobal regarding the Australian LIFTS program.

“No other training system in the world today will better develop the skills required to operate the RAAF’s most advanced frontline aircraft like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the F-35,” Chuck Dabundo, Boeing’s Vice President for the T-7 program, added. It’s worth noting that the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler are both also Boeing products. The RAAF is also an operator of Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and is working with the company’s Australia-based division on an advanced loyal wingman-type drone effort, known as the Airpower Teaming System, which you can read about more in this past War Zone piece.

The RAAF is looking to replace its entire fleet

The RAAF is looking to replace its entire fleet of approximately 33 BAE Hawk Mk 127 Lead-in Fighter (LIF) jet trainers, which it first ordered in 1997. Last year, the U.K.-based manufacturer completed an upgrade program for all of these jets, which included a improved electronic warfare system, as well as Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning (EGPWS) and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) suites. Though these aircraft don’t have a radar of their own, they also have updated radar emulation capabilities when combined with podded systems, such as the Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation (ACMI) pod. The aircraft have new glass cockpits with digital multi-function displays, as well.

The upgraded Mk 127s have a configuration very similar to the Hawk T2s, originally known as Mk 128s, that the U.K. Royal Air Force flies. It’s interesting to note that Northrop Grumman had initially planned to submit the T2 to the U.S. Air Force’s T-X competition, but ultimately went with a clean sheet design after deciding that the modernized Hawk could not meet that program’s requirements. The Boeing-Saab T-7A was the winner of the T-X competition in 2018.

Australia hopes to have picked a winner for its LIFTS competition in the next few years and have all of the new jet trainers delivered by 2033. Previous estimates have said that the entire procurement effort, which could include various ancillary items and services, could cost between $4 and $5 billion Australian dollars, or between around $2.85 billion and $3.56 billion at the present rate of conversion. The U.S. Air Force is only slated to receive its first production T-7As in 2023.

Serbia is looking to replace its G-4 Super Galeb and J-22 Orao

Serbia is also in the process of exploring replacement options for its G-4 Super Galebs and J-22 Oraos, both of which were developed by SOKO in the former Yugoslavia during the Cold War. SOKO designed the G-4 on its own, but crafted the J-22 together with Romania’s Avioane Craiova. The J-22 first entered Yugoslav service in 1978, with the G-4 arriving five years later. The Serbia Air Force inherited examples of both of these aircraft, among many other types, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, which began in 1991.

That Serbia is looking at the T-7A as one possible replacement for its G-4s makes good sense. The single-engine G-4 is roughly comparable to many other jet trainers of its era, including early generations of the BAE Hawk. The Red Hawk would offer a substantial increase in overall capability and performance over the Super Galebs in lead-in and advanced jet trainer roles. 

However, if the Serbian Air Force were to adopt the T-7A, or a variant or derivative thereof, as a replacement for the J-22, it would make the country the first to operate the aircraft in a dedicated combat role. The J-22 is a ground-attack aircraft that can also carry out tactical reconnaissance missions when carrying a pod equipped with visual and infrared cameras. The jet has an internally-mounted 23mm GSh-23 twin-barrel automatic cannon and can carry various weapons on any of five external hardpoints, two under each wing and one under the fuselage centerline. 

G-4 Super Galeb – Serbian Air Force

Potential to serve as a light fighter jet

Serbia didn’t come to the idea of using a version of the T-7A in this role, either. There has already been talk for years, as The War Zone has explored in the past, about how the Red Hawk offers the growth potential to serve as a light fighter jet with a robust ground-attack capability. Boeing itself highlighted this again just this month, suggesting that the aircraft could be a good and relatively low-cost choice for countries looking to replace aging light jet combat aircraft, such as Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs and Franco-German Alpha Jets. Both of those Cold War-era aircraft remain in widespread use around the world.

The G-4s also have a limited secondary air-to-ground capability. It is possible that Serbia could acquire a single trainer-attack-type variant to replace both those jets and the J-22s.

“These are the initial steps in developing new capabilities as no such capital acquisition is realized overnight,” Miloradovic said in his interview, according to Jane’s. “The [T-7A] aircraft itself is supersonic and features modern avionics, and as such would be able to entirely replace our ground attack aviation and being multirole would also be able to support our [MiG-29 Fulcrum] interceptors.”

Beyond the Red Hawk’s capabilities and performance, any foreign customer would be able to benefit from the significant investments that the U.S. government has already made in the design, as well as the supply chains to support it, all of which will help reduce the jet’s unit cost and what it takes to operate and maintain it. The U.S. Air Force has already said it will buy at least 351 examples and possibly up to 475 of the T-7As, which are set to be a major component of its future pilot training programs, if nothing else, for years to come.

Source: The Drive