Government to Cancel F-16 Fighter Jets Tender on Monday

By 12 January 2019

ZAGREB, January 12, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday the government would cancel a tender for the purchase of F-16 fighter jets on Monday and then analyse the lessons learned, but added that it remains resolute about Croatia's maintaining its combat aircraft capabilities.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 29th anniversary of the Split branch of his HDZ party, Plenković said his was the first government that was daring enough to adopt the strategic decision to buy fighter jets.

He said the government entered the process transparently and did everything after Israel's offer in good faith and with due attention.

Plenković said the government probably would not have adopted the decision had it been clear that the manufacturer, a US company, was convinced that the US administration would not allow the transfer of upgraded aircraft.

"That wasn't that clear nor could one detect it either after the defence minister's visit to the US in July or after the Israeli president's visit. It couldn't be concluded either from the fact that the Israeli F-16 Baraks flew above Knin on August 5."

Plenković said the government would meet on Monday and cancel the tender for the purchase of fighter jets, putting the decision on the purchase out of force.

The next step will be decided when the government, the Defence Council and other institutions estimate that the step is necessary, he added. "Confident that, strategically speaking, we adopted a good decision behind which we stand, we will probably embark on a new process when we estimate the time is right," Plenković said in Split, adding that "such things happened in such big operations also in other countries, which were probably doing it for the first time too."

He went on to say that the government would carry out many reforms in future to reinforce the state administration through better organisation and digitisation.

More news on the Croatian military can be found in our Politics section.