Decision on New Fighter Jets Coming After Analysis of Failed Tender

By 8 February 2019

ZAGREB, February 8, 2019 - Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said on Thursday he would not back down from his opinion that Croatia needed multi-purpose fighter jets, adding that a decision in that regard would be made after a detailed analysis of the failed acquisition of Israeli F-16 Barak aircraft.

After a presentation of the Defence Ministry's procurement plan for 2019, Krstičević denied speculation that Croatia would not be buying fighter jets because his presentation did not specify what jets Croatia wanted to buy or from whom.

"First we are waiting for a parliamentary debate. We are conducting a detailed analysis of the process. After we make a complete analysis, we will start the process of selecting fighter jets. Since that is a very complex process, we need to see all aspects and decide how to resolve this matter which is vital for our future. Naturally, we would like this issue to be above party politics," Krstičević said.

He reiterated that the entire process that failed had been conducted cleanly, in detail and transparently and that Croatia was not responsible for anything but that it had to learn the moral of this story and see how to resolve it in the future.

Asked about the prime minister's announcement that he would include additional stakeholders to be responsible for the procurement process, Krstičević rejected speculation that the prime minister didn't trust him and that he was seeking additional controls.

"As far as trust is concerned. I am here. I am the minister and I don't think that is true," he said. He added that in his opinion people from other government departments and state institutions should be included in this complex process.

Asked if he was still in favour of acquiring new American F-16 aircraft, he said that once an analysis was completed, it would be clear how this would unfold.

More news on the failed acquisition of fighter jets can be found in the Politics section.