The Croatian government has cleared the way for its Air Force to acquire 12 second-hand Rafale F3-R fighter jets from France, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic pointed out that the purchase of a multi-role fighter aircraft Rafale F3-R will significantly increase the capabilities of the Croatian Air Force.
“By procuring fighter jets, Croatia is gaining a powerful strategic deterrent for the next 30 to 40 years, which significantly strengthens its international position and its airspace protection and multiplies the overall combat capability of the Croatian Army. The purchase of a multi-role fighter aircraft will strengthen Croatia’s position as an ally within NATO and a partner within the European Union. With this move, Croatia will for the first time reach the level of spending of 2% of GDP for strengthening its defense capabilities, which is the goal of all NATO members”, said Prime Minister.
In addition to the aircraft, the French offer also includes a flight simulator, basic weapons package, ground and test equipment, spare parts, staff training according to the principle of “training of trainers”, comprehensive support from authorized representatives of manufacturers for a period of three years and a warranty of 12 months per each delivered aircraft, engine, other equipment and spare parts.
The Rafale is a twin-engine multi-role fighter aircraft equipped with advanced attack-navigation systems, the latest-generation radar with high integration of sensors and self-defense systems, as well as the ability to use a wide range of weapons, making it one of the best multi-role fighter aircraft today. Among other things, the Rafale is the only one of the four offered aircraft that has the possibility of supercruising, it can carry the most payload (9.5 tons) and has the lowest radar reflection.
The operational lifetime of Croatia’s current MiG-21 aircraft expires in 2024, which makes it necessary to introduce the multi-role fighter aircraft into operational use as soon as possible. The level of national security will be raised to a level that Croatia has never had before. This will not only be the largest investment in Croatia’s Armed Forces since independence, but also the largest investment in ensuring lasting peace.