Pilots Training Centre – a big step in the Army modernization and promotion of Macedonia

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Two important government measures and projects that have attracted public attention were promoted over the past period. Government solves the problem of professional soldiers, and a Pilot Training Center was opened today.

We discussed these topics with the State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense Saso Stefanoski.

Macedonia has received the most modern pilot training center in South East Europe.

– I must say that I am extremely proud that I personally led the team that implemented the project. We have spent a long period of hard work, a lot of temptations, but I must say that the pilot training center was officially launched today, which the Macedonian government and the Ministry of Defense built together with the Israeli company “Elbit”. I can freely say that this project is not only the pride of the Macedonian ministry, but generally of the Republic of Macedonia, because for the first time we are building a complex in the defense department, which is extremely technologically advanced, and will allow very fast Army development – the training of pilots and practically and we must continue to work and create projects that will be at least equal to this, and better I hope. But the essence of this project is not only to produce pilots for the Ministry of Defense, but has a civilian dimension, and that is to train pilots for the general use of the Republic and the civilian and military part. Besides the Ministry of Defense, the center will train pilots for the Ministry of Interior, Directorate for Protection and Rescue, and all those institutions that require such staff. I have to say that the project has very good practical dimensions that allow a normal functioning of the Centre. The center is placed on 13,000 square meters, with four modules within the facility, a module to provide theoretical and practical training of the students, a module for practical flight training, a module that covers the area of ​​maintenance and servicing of helicopters and module for MI-24 and MI-17 simulators. The part with the simulators is something that is not yet seen in this region. It is something that I hope will give a new spirit to the Ministry of Defense and will provide proper training to all interested state institutions. I must say that there is no such center in southeastern Europe, so we will export knowledge from the center outside of the borders of Republic of Macedonia and of course, we will make a profit which would later be used for the modernization of the remaining equipment. The training will be done by top experts of the Israeli company “Elbit”. This institution is entering into a new technological advanced era and I hope it will further contribute to other positive things in the Army of Republic of Macedonia, Stefanoski said to Kurir.

The benefits of the measure for professional soldiers

I must mention about the certain genesis of events in the country. After the abolition of the recruiting composition, the Macedonian Army received professional staff- its soldiers received professional status. Contracts with limited time of serving in the Army of the Republic of Macedonia to 35 years were made since then. Therefore, after 35 years most of the professional soldiers abandoned their positions in the Army of the Republic. Facing this challenge, as the Government of the Republic of Macedonia we have tried to help to correct this situation. I would like to mention the events of recent years and the measures taken in respect of this issue. In 2007 the age limit for service in the Army of Republic of Macedonia was increased from 35 to 38 years. This, of course, did not solve the issue of professional soldiers, and again in 2012 the age limit was increased from age 38 to 45 years. This year the Government decided to submit amendments to the Law on Service in the Army of Republic of Macedonia and to provide professional soldiers to get professional employment after completing their service in the Army of Republic of Macedonia, or obtaining permanent employment, he said.

A member of the Army-man who loves his country

-Above all, being a member of the Army of Republic of Macedonia means to be a man with morals, that is honest, loves his country and wants to help his homeland in every way. This measure will further strengthen this feeling because now the issue is institutionally resolved, the State Secretary pointed out.

NATO Integration – government strategic priority

-NATO integration is one of the Government and the Ministry of Defense’s strategic priorities. We work hard to achieve and maintain the capacities that we need to have to be part of NATO. Macedonia has met all the criteria to be a full member of NATO since 2008, but due to known reasons, i.e. due to the Greek blockade, Macedonia has not yet joined NATO. But it does not discourage us, on the contrary, we act as de facto member, and I can say that our troops are shoulder to shoulder with NATO colleagues and even some of the most positive examples in the NATO alliance about how a soldier should behave in different situations. In addition, our strategic priority is confirmed with the fact that we are an active participant in all NATO international operations. Currently we have about 170 soldiers of the Army of Republic of Macedonia deployed in missions abroad. But of course, the main problem is that they are probably incompetent and unable to settle the problem with their member Greece. I will emphasize again that we are in no way discouraged, our enthusiasm is here, we always find new motivation to modernize, improve and enhance the work of the Macedonian Army. Our primary goal is to improve our situation inside the country, our institutions, the Macedonian Army and later if conditions are created to be a member of the NATO alliance, but certainly with dignity, Stefanoski concluded to Kurir.

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