Serbia unveiled several pieces of newly acquired military hardware during its recent “Lightning Strike 2021” exercise held at eight training areas throughout the country.
One piece of equipment featured during the two-week event was the latest Zastava TERVO M-20 6×6 mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored fighting vehicle. The vehicle features add-on armor and bullet-proof windows for improved troop protection.
The Zastava TERVO is designed to safely and quickly transport military units while ensuring protection from small infantry weapons and mines.
Another vehicle unveiled during the exercise was the Fabrika Automobila Priboj (FAP) M-21 4×4 armored personnel carrier. It is equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun and a remote-controlled weapon station.
The FAP M-21 can carry weapons and 10 soldiers, including the driver and commander, with a maximum payload capacity of 1,500 kilograms. Its 280 hp engine provides the vehicle with a maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour.
Lightning Strike 2021
Serbian Defense Minister Nebojsa Stevanovic stated that the recently-concluded military exercise was conducted to assess the operational capabilities of the armed forces.
He added that the event shows how much Serbia has invested in strengthening its military.
However, London School of Economics and Political Science visiting professor James Ker-Lindsay remarked that Serbia parading its state-of-the-art military equipment only serves to make its neighbors nervous because of the memory of the Balkan wars in the 1990s.
“It’s a very good opportunity for people in other countries who don’t view Serbia in a particularly positive light to then use this as a chance to point the finger and say, ‘Look, they haven’t changed, they’re still as militaristic as they were in the past. This is all about trying to flex their muscles and show their neighbors that they’re still able to take back territory, and that’s what they want,'” he told RFE/RL‘s Balkan Service.