Croatian Pilots Begin Training on US Helicopters

By 11 May 2017

Croatia has recently received Kiowa Warrior helicopters.

At the Air Force Base in Zemunik near Zadar, a presentation of the beginning of the flight training on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters was organised today. The training is being carried out on 16 helicopters which have been equipped as part of a project supported by the US government and armed forces, reports Večernji List on May 11, 2017.

The beginning of the flight training was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, US military envoy Brigadier Robert Mathers, Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Croatia Mirko Šundov and other guests.

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The Minister thanked the United States government for its support and said that in the hands of the Croatian pilots the helicopters will bring new value in dealing with contemporary security threats. “These helicopters allow our armed forces to reach new capabilities. They are part of the strong support and assistance segments we have received from our strategic partners, worth over 500 million dollars,” the minister said.

US military envoy Brigadier Robert Mathers said he came in order to see for himself that the US donation has been put into use and would serve common interests and security. He pointed out that American instructors, who are some of the best and most experienced pilots, have confirmed that the Croatian pilots are among the best they have been working with so far. “I am happy because we are developing military cooperation and sharing the same values ​​and priorities not only in Southeast Europe, but worldwide,” Brigadier Mathers said.

Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Mirko Šundov, thanked the American side and the US military envoy for their professional relationship and cooperation, and everything they provided to Croatia with regards to the training of pilots and technicians. He also praised the pilots and technicians who are doing their best to quickly acquire all the necessary knowledge to achieve full their capabilities.

Commander of the helicopter squadron Lieutenant Colonel Krešimir Ražov briefly presented the features of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters and explained that eight pilots were currently being trained on these helicopters by five US instructors.

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The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a helicopter designed for anti-tank action, close air support, escorting and protecting convoys, correcting and directing precision artillery and fighting in urban areas. Croatia has received armed versions of OH-58D. Available weapons include anti-tank missiles AGM-114 “Hellfire”, anti-aircraft missiles “Stinger”, missiles “Hydra-70”, and 12.5 millimeter guns.

The initial training cycle includes the first group of Croatian pilots who will receive certificates of qualification for the independent implementation of all types of training and will continue to train other pilots.