Air-Force Croatia OKs Purchase of French Jets Before Macron Visit

Isa Khan

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ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia’s government on Wednesday approved the purchase of 12 Rafale fighter jets from France worth about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era aircraft and strengthen its air force amid lingering tensions in the Balkans.
The contract for the used jets is expected to be signed during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Croatia on Thursday. It will be the first visit by France’s head of state to Croatia since it split from the former Yugoslav federation in the 1991-95 war.

The selection of the French aircraft, announced in May, followed a long bidding process that was plagued by delays. Other offers had included new F-16s from the United States, new JAS-39 Gripen planes from Sweden, and used F-16s from Israel. Government officials said Wednesday the purchase of the aircraft will cover Croatia’s needs to protect its skies for the next 30 years and the package will include missiles and a training process for Croatian pilots. Two Rafales are scheduled to make a flyover the Croatian capital during Macron’s visit on Thursday, officials said.

Croatian officials said earlier that the purchase will be worth 999 million euros and will involve 10 single-seater and two 2-seater F3R Rafale twin-engine aircraft. The first six Rafales are scheduled to be delivered in 2024, with the rest due the following year.

The French jets will replace a few still operational Soviet-era MiG-21s — first developed in the 1950s — whose resources expire in 2024. Most of the MiGs were originally snatched from the Yugoslav military which tried to stop Croatia’s secession from the former Serb-dominated federation.

Croatia, which is a member of NATO and the European Union, is in a mini arms race with neighboring Russian ally Serbia, which has recently received six used MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia and four more of the type from Belarus.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who is to hold talks in Russia with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, said Wednesday that a “big” announcement on additional military purchases by Serbia could be expected in March.

He didn't elaborate, but there has for years been talk of Russia supplying Serbia with the S-400 surface-to-air missile system, bringing the sophisticated rockets even closer to bordering NATO-member states.

 

Isa Khan

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At a ceremony attended by the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Minister of the Croatian Republic Andrej Plenković, the French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly and the Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation Eric Trappier signed today in Zagreb, with the Croatian Minister of Defense Mario Banozic, two contracts for the acquisition of 12 Rafale fighters and associated logistics support.

The state-to-state contract mainly covers the transfer of 12 Rafale fighters from the French Air Force along with their equipment, as well as a training service for the Croatian Air Force.

The logistics support contract covers all support resources, including additional spare parts for these aircraft, over a three-year period.

The selection of the Rafale, announced on May 28, after an international tender involving European and American aircraft, reflects its technological and operational superiority, as well as the excellent work done by the team “France” to consolidate its position in the European air forces.

I am delighted, on behalf of Dassault Aviation and its partners, to be entering into a relationship of trust with Croatia, a European country, and to be writing a new page for the Rafale, which I am certain will give the Croatian Air Force complete satisfaction, while actively contributing to the exercise of Croatia’s national sovereignty,” said Eric Trappier after the signing ceremony.

 
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Pukovnik7

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Composed by me from various Croatian news outlets:

Two F3R Rafales flew over Zagreb after Croatian government had signed the purchase of new fighter jets for Croatian Air Force. This happened after Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and French President Emmanuel Macron had signed new Strategic Partnership Agreement and oversaw signing of the sale agreement for a Rafale squadron, which was signed by Ministers for Defense, Mario Banožić and Florence Parly.

Croatia is buying twelve used Dassault Rafale F3R fighter jets, of which 10 single-seaters and 2 two-seaters. Price will be 1,2 billion Euros, to be paid in five installments from 2022. to 2026. This is some 15 per cent more than what was originally reported. In May 2021., when decision had been made, stated cost was 999 million Euros. The price of Rafale purchase did not in fact increase, as the differential of 200 million Euros is Value Added Tax which is paid into the budget of Republic of Croatia.

Along with 12 aircraft, Croatia will also receive a modern flight simulator, ground and test equipment, spare parts and support contract with Dassault Aviation. Also included are basic air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons packages, as well as training of flight and ground crews. Training of ground personnel will start in late 2022., while that of pilots will begin in early 2023. Contract includes training of personnel, military cooperation and joint exercises of French Air Force (AdlA) and Croatian Air Force (HRZ). Transfer of ownership will be carried out in France, upon which Croatian pilots will fly Rafales to Croatia. Eight Rafales will arrive to Croatia in late 2024., while remaining four will arrive in early 2025.
 

T-123456

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Very expensive?
Nope.
''Along with 12 aircraft, Croatia will also receive a modern flight simulator, ground and test equipment, spare parts and support contract with Dassault Aviation. Also included are basic air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons packages, as well as training of flight and ground crews.''

Good deal.
 
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