On the eve of the celebration of the 23rd anniversary of Operation Storm which ended Croatia’s 1991-95 war of independence, three Israeli F-16 Barak multi-purpose combat aircraft landed at the 91st air base of the Croatian Air Force in Pleso on 2 August.
On that occasion, Israeli aircraft F-16D Barak fighters from Ramat David air base (Israel) in Pleso were visited and inspected by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Damir Krstičević and Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov with associates accompanied by a delegation of the State of Israel.
After the celebration, the three F-16D Barak fighter jets will fly back to Ramat David.
It is worth noting that the Croatian government plans to replace its aging fleet of Mikoyan MiG-21 aircraft with new fourth-generation aircraft. The aircraft visited Croatia as part of a demonstration tour pending their sale.
According to the Jane’s Defence Weekly, on 29 March Croatia officially selected the fighter offer from Israel and began contract negotiations. On offer were 12 used Israeli F-16 C/D Block 30 fighter jets, provided to Israel through the Peace Marble II programme and further upgraded locally to the Barak 2020 standard. Ten are to be single-seaters and two twin seaters.
The acquisition of 12 aircraft is estimated to be worth around HRK2.9 billion (USD480.3 million).
The F-16 Block 30 Barak or Lightning is a multi-role fighter that carries out a wide range of complex missions, from attacking deep in enemy territory to air superiority.
The F-16C is an improved model of the single seat F-16. The plane’s structure was strengthened to enlarge its ability to carry advanced armaments
The F-16D is a double seat model, based on the F-16C fighter jet. As the C models, the D model is heavier than the first F-16 planes, but it makes up for that with its carrying capabilities. The fighters serve in the United States and Israel air forces, as well as a number of air forces around the world.