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Yugoslavia: Military Exchanges
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Foreign Military Relations > Military Exchanges


Yugoslavia conducted active military exchanges with a number of countries, including the United States, the Soviet Union, other NATO and Warsaw Pact countries, and several countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Reciprocal military visits with the United States were frequent in the late 1970s, a period of intense United States concern about the direction of post-Tito Yugoslavia. The United States secretary of defense visited Yugoslavia in 1977 to discuss possible arms sales and training for YPA officers in the United States. He and the Yugoslav federal secretary for national defense exchanged visits the following year. They discussed possible transfer of antitank, antiship, and air-to-surface missiles, aircraft engines, communications equipment, and an integrated naval air defense system. Of these, only the sale of Maverick air-to-surface missiles was completed. The chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Yugoslavia in 1979 and 1985, and the secretary of defense returned there in 1982. These visits included discussions of the general strategic situation in Europe and the longstanding Yugoslav interest in buying advanced arms from the United States.

Despite the Soviet Union's role as Yugoslavia's leading arms supplier, relatively few high-level military exchanges occurred between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. A 1988 visit by the Soviet minister of defense to Belgrade was the first since 1976; the Yugoslav federal secretary returned this visit in 1989. Both visits featured discussion of increased military cooperation.

Yugoslavia had many contacts with countries in North Africa and the Middle East, with special attention to Libya, Egypt, and Ethiopia. Several high-level exchanges occurred with the Libyan armed forces in the late 1970s and 1980s. As a result, Libya purchased Yugoslav armored personnel carriers, small arms, patrol boats, and ammunition as well as training for Libyan officers in Yugoslavia. Egypt and Yugoslavia established a military cooperation program in 1984. Reciprocal general staff visits in 1988 and 1989 elaborated the Yugoslav role in training Egyptian soldiers and upgrading older Soviet arms and equipment in the Egyptian inventory. In 1988 the federal secretary for national defense visited Ethiopia to promote military-industrial cooperation between the two countries.

Other significant military visits included reciprocal exchanges of high-ranking officers with India in 1979 and 1984 and with Angola in 1979 and 1986. Like Yugoslavia, each of those countries had large numbers of Soviet weapons systems that were the stimulus for military cooperation. Angola also expressed interest in Yugoslav aircraft and pilot training.

Data as of December 1990

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Yugoslavia was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Yugoslavia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 200 of 208


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