Croatia buys 12 F-16 fighter jets from Israel

Croatian Government announced on 29 March the decision to buy 12 used F-16 Barak fighter jets from Israel in order to replace its old MiG-21 fighter jets. In a highly transparent process of acquisition, uncharacteristic for the Balkans, besides Israel, Croatia also received bids from Greece also for 12 used F-16, from the US for 12 new F-16 and from SAAB for 12 new Gripen jets.

Israeli bid included not only these three decade old jets but also missiles and ammunition, pilot and maintenance crew training, logistics and technical support for a reported sum of around 400 million euros to be paid in the next 10 years.  First 2 jets are scheduled to arrive in 2020, additional 6 in 2021 and the last 4 in 2022. Although some sources describe this purchase as a mini-arms-race with Serbia, being that they acquired 6 MiG-29 from Russia, this is highly unlikely being that Croatia is in NATO while Serbia is not, rendering their conflict virtually impossible. With primary duties in air-policing and training Croatia is settled for the next 25 years while also showing clear indication of their commitment to NATO.

About author: Mihajlo Kopanja

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