Serbian Armed Forces
Bojcka Србије
Vojska Srbije
Grb 1.svg
Emblem of the Serbian Armed Forces
Founded6 May 1830; 192 years ago (1830-05-06)
Current form2006
Service branches Serbian Army
 Serbian Air Force and Air Defence
HeadquartersNeznanog junaka 38, Topčidersko Brdo, Belgrade
Commander-in-ChiefPresident Aleksandar Vučić
Minister of DefenceDeputy Prime Minister Nebojša Stefanović
Chief of the General StaffGeneral Milan Mojsilović
Military age18 years of age
Available for
military service
3,417,402, age 16–49 (2022 est.[4])
Fit for
military service
2,699,050, age 16–49 (2022 est.[4])
Reaching military
age annually
83,691 (2022 est.[4])
Active personnel22,500[1]
Reserve personnel2,000 (active reserve)[2]
600,000 (passive reserve)
Deployed personnel336[3]
Budget$1.51 billion (2021)[5]
Percent of GDP2.49% (2021)
Domestic suppliersYugoimport SDPR (armored vehicles and artillery systems)
Zastava Arms (firearms)
Prvi Partizan (small-caliber ammunition)
Sloboda (large-caliber ammunition)
Krušik (large-caliber ammunition)
Milan Blagojević (gunpowder)
Utva (trainer aircraft and drones)
FAP (light utility vehicles)
Zastava Tervo (light utility vehicles)
Yumco (combat and service uniforms)
Mile Dragić (combat helmets and ballistic vests)
Foreign suppliers Russia
Annual exports$409 million (2019)[6]
Related articles
HistoryHistory of the Serbian Army
History of the Serbian Air Force
RanksMilitary ranks of Serbia

The Serbian Armed Forces (Serbian Cyrillic: Војска Србије, romanizedVojska Srbije) is the military of Serbia.

The President of Serbia acts as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, while administration and defence policy is carried out by the Government through the Ministry of Defence. The highest operational authority, in-charge of the deployment and preparation of the armed forces in peace and war, is the General Staff. The Serbian Armed Forces follows a doctrine of neutrality regarding political ideology.[7]

Military service is voluntary, though conscription may occur in wartime. As of 2022, Serbia is ranked 61 of 140 out of the countries considered for the annual GFP review.[8]

The Serbian Armed Forces consists of two branches: Serbian Army and Serbian Air Force and Air Defence.


Main article: Military history of Serbia

Main article: History of the Serbian Army

Main article: History of the Serbian Air Force

Serbia has a long military tradition dating to early medieval period. The modern Serbian military dates back to the Serbian Revolution which started in 1804 with the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman occupation of Serbia. The victories in the battles of Ivankovac (1805), Mišar (August 1806), Deligrad (December 1806) and Belgrade (November–December 1806), led to the establishment of the Principality of Serbia in 1817. The subsequent Second Serbian Uprising of 1815–1817 led to full independence and recognition of the Kingdom of Serbia and weakened the Ottoman dominance in the Balkans. In November 1885 the Serbo-Bulgarian War occurred following Bulgarian unification and resulted in a Bulgarian victory. In 1912 the First Balkan War (1912–1913) erupted between the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan League (Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria). Balkan League victories in the Battle of Kumanovo (October 1912), the Battle of Prilep (November 1912), the Battle of Monastir (November 1912), the Battle of Adrianople (November 1912 to March 1913), and the Siege of Scutari (October 1912 to April 1913) resulted in the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, which lost most of its remaining Balkan territories per the Treaty of London (May 1913). Shortly after, the Second Balkan War (June to August, 1913) broke out when Bulgaria, dissatisfied with the division of territory, declared war against its former allies, Serbia and Greece. Following a string of defeats, Bulgaria requested an armistice and signed the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest, formally ending the war.

Serbia's independence and growing influence threatened neighboring Austria-Hungary which led to the Bosnian crisis of 1908–09. Consequently, from 1901, all Serbian males between the ages of 21 to 46 became liable for general mobilization.[9] Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June 1914, Austria-Hungary implicated Serbians and declared war on Serbia (July 1914), which marked the beginning of the First World War of 1914–1918. Serbian forces repelled three consecutive invasions by Austria in 1914, securing the first major victories of the war for the Allies, but were eventually overwhelmed by the combined forces of the Central Powers (October–November 1915) and forced to retreat through Albania (1915–1916) to the Greek island of Corfu (1915–1916).

Serbian military activity after World War I took place in the context of various Yugoslav armies until the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the restoration of Serbia as an independent state in 2006.


The Serbian Armed Forces are commanded by the General Staff corp of senior officers. The general staff is led by the Chief of the General Staff. The chief of the general staff is appointed by the President who is the Commander-in-Chief. The current Chief of the General Staff is General Milan Mojsilović.

The armed forces are formally a part of the Ministry of Defence. The current Minister of Defence is Nebojša Stefanović.[10]

Organization of Serbian Armed Forces
Organization of Serbian Armed Forces

Service branches

The armed forces consist of the following service branches:

Serbian Army

Main article: Serbian Army

The Serbian Army (Kopnena vojska Srbije - KoV) is the land-based and the largest component of the armed forces consisting of: infantry, armoured, artillery, engineering units as well as River Flotilla. It is responsible for defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia; participating in peacekeeping operations; and providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Serbian Air Force and Air Defence

Main article: Serbian Air Force and Air Defence

The Serbian Air Force and Air Defence (Ratno vazduhoplovstvo i protivvazduhoplovna odbrana Vojske Srbije - RViPVO) is the aviation and anti-aircraft defence based component of the armed forces consisting of: aviation, anti-aircraft, surveillance and reconnaissance units. Its mission is to guard and protect the sovereignty of Serbian airspace, and jointly with the Army, to protect territorial integrity.

Command structure

Command structure of the Serbian Armed Forces is centered around General Staff as the highest command authority, and three separate commands: one for each of the branches (Army Command and Air Force and Air Defence Command) and one responsible for training (Training Command).

General Staff

Main article: Serbian General Staff

The Serbian General Staff (Generalštab Vojske Srbije) makes strategic and tactical preparations and procedures for use during peacetime and war. Special forces (63rd Parachute Brigade and 72nd Brigade for Special operations) are under direct command of the Chief of the General Staff. Organizational units of the Armed Forces serving directly under the General Staff are: Serbian Guard, Signal Brigade, Central Logistics Base, 224th Electronic Warfare Center, Peacekeeping Operations Center, as well as Direction of Military Police (which includes Criminal Investigative Group and MP Special Operations Detachment "Cobras").[11]

Army Command

Army Command (Komanda Kopnene vojske) is responsible for unitary, administrative and operational control of the Army. Army Command headquarters is in Niš.

Air Force and Air Defence Command

Air Force and Air Defence Command (Komanda Ratnog vazduhoplovstva i protivvazduhoplovne odbrane) is responsible for unitary, administrative and operational control of the Air Force and Air Defence. Its headquarters is in Zemun.

Training Command

The Serbian Training Command (Komanda za obuku) is responsible for providing soldiers, non-commissioned officer and officers of Serbian Armed Forces, as well the members of foreign armies basic and military specialist training.


Main article: Equipment of the Serbian Armed Forces

The Serbian Armed Forces has a wide variety of equipment, mix of older Yugoslav and Soviet products (dating back to 1980s and even 1970s) and new equipment, either domestically-produced from Serbian defence contractors or acquired from foreign producers (main suppliers being Russia, France, China, and to a lesser extent Germany).

Inventory of Serbian Army includes: 232 tanks (30 Russian T-72 B1MS and 212 Yugoslav-made M-84), 90 self-propelled howitzers (18 domestically-produced Nora B-52 and 72 Soviet-made Gvozdika), 60 Yugoslav-made M-77 Oganj MRLs, 220 Yugoslav-made BVP M-80 infantry fighting vehicles, 30 domestically-produced Lazar armored personnel carriers, over 100 MRAPs and other armored vehicles (including 30 domestically-produced Miloš).[12]

Serbian Air Force and Air Defense has in operational use the following equipment: 14 Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter aircraft (11 of which are recently modernized to SM standard and armed with R-77 missiles)[13], 12 Yugoslav-made J-22 attack aircraft, 1 Soviet-made An-26 transport aircraft, 4 (and 4 more on order) Russian Mi-35 attack helicopter (armed with Ataka missiles), 8 Russian Mi-17 utility helicopters, 5 German H145M utility helicopters, 6 Chinese CH-92 combat drones, 4 batteries of Chinese HQ-22 medium-range air-defence missile system[14], one battery (and 2 more on order) of Russian Pantsir short-range air-defence missile system as well as 18 pieces of domestically-produced PASARS-16 anti-aircraft artillery systems (armed with 50 French Mistral missiles).[15]

In last several years Serbia has embarked on ambitious programme of equipment modernisation and acquistion. Whenever possible, the Serbian Ministry of Defence favors products that are manufactured in Serbia such as: Lazar armoured personnel carriers, Miloš light armored infantry vehicles, Nora B-52 artillery systems, Lasta training aircraft. Largest procurement of foreign equipment recently included: Chinese HQ-22 air-defence missile system, Airbus H145M utility helicopters, Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters as well as various missile acquistions (French surface-to-air Mistral for PASARS vehicles; Russian R-77 air-to-air BVR missiles for MiG-29 fighter aircraft, Ataka air-to-surface missiles for Mi-35 attack helicopters and Kornet man-portable anti-tank guided missiles).

Significant acquisitions of military equipment are also planned in the near future: 2 ordered Airbus C295 transport aircraft (due to be delivered by the end of 2023), Thales long-range Ground Master 400 and short-range Ground Master 200 air defence mobile radar systems (to be delivered in 2022 and 2023) and Russian long-range Krasukha and short-range Repellent Patrol mobile electronic warfare systems.[16][17][18] Recently it was also announced the intention of purchase of 12 new Rafale multirole fighter aircraft with the aim of replacing MiG-29 which will be in service until the end of 2020s.[19]


The Serbian Armed Forces are composed entirely of professionals and volunteers following the suspension of mandatory military service in 2011.

Active personnel

There are 22,500 active members: 4,200 officers, 6,500 non-commisioned officers, 8,200 active-duty soldiers and 3,500 civilians in volunteer military service.[20] It breaks down as follows:

Reserve force

The reserve force is composed of an active reserve and passive (i.e. war-time) reserve. The active reserve forces have 2,000 members and they are generally required to perform 45 days of military service per year.[2] Passive reserve totals about 600,000 citizens of age 18–49 with past military training or experience and is activated only in the events of war.



Motto of the Serbian Armed Forces is "For Liberty and Honour of the Fatherland" (Za slobodu i čast Otadžbine) and is found on uniforms as well as on regimental flags.

Armed Forces Day

Serbian Armed Forces Day (Dan Vojske Srbije) is marked on 23 April, the anniversary of the Second Serbian Uprising. On that day in 1815, in Takovo, prominent elders met and decided to start the fight for liberation of Serbia from the Turkish authorities, which eventually led to the free and independent Serbia.


High-stepping in a parade in 2014
High-stepping in a parade in 2014

The Serbian military was the first to pioneer the high-step as a military step. It is similar to the goose step, with the difference being that the knee is bent at the top of the arc. It was used by the Royal Yugoslav Army and at the time was called the male step. The Yugoslav People's Army abandoned it after World War II, being in use for over two decades before being replaced by high-stepping in the 1975 Victory Day Parade, to assert itself as independent from Soviet influence. High-stepping is still used today by Serbian Armed Forces, and is also utilized by the militaries of North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

March Music

There are several marches in use in Serbian Armed Forces. The standard one is Parade March (Paradni marš), while Guard uses its own Guard March (Gardijski marš) as standard march music. Also frequently used and the most popular and recognizable by the general public in Serbia is famous Drina March (Marš na Drinu). Other frequently used march is Field Marshal Stepa Stepanović March (Marš vojvode Stepe Stepanovića).


The Serbian Armed Forces actively take part in numerous multinational peacekeeping missions.[3]

Country Mission Number of personnel
 Cyprus UNFICYP 1 staff officer, 2 observers, 6 non-commissioned officers and 37 infantry
 Central African Republic MINUSCA 3 staff officers, 2 observers, 68 medical infantry
 Central African Republic EUTM RCA 7 medical infantry
 DR Congo MONUC 2 staff officers, 2 doctors and 4 technicians
Lebanon UNIFIL 8 staff officers, 5 national support element and 164 infantry
 Liberia UNMIL 1 officer as military observers
 Mali EUTM Mali 3 medical infantry
Middle East UNTSO 2 officers
 Somalia EUTM Somalia Medical Corps team including 1 staff officer, 1 doctor and 3 medical technicians
 Somalia EUNAVFOR 4 OHQ staff officers, 1 OHQ non-commissioned officer, 2 FHQ staff officers and 12 members of AVPD

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Iz stroja pravo na posao" (in Serbian). Večernje novosti. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Министарство одбране Републике Србије - Актуелне мултинационалне операције".
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Posle rebalansa budžeta - 600 miliona evra za vojne nabavke". 21 April 2021.
  6. ^
  7. ^ O Vojsci at
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Serbian Army in WWI". Archived from the original on 2009-03-23.
  10. ^ "Министарство одбране Републике Србије - Министар одбране".
  11. ^ "Generalštab Vojske Srbije" (in Serbian).
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