Croatia Remains Determined to Procure Fighter Jets

By 23 May 2019

ZAGREB, May 23, 2019 - Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said on Thursday the government remained resolute to resolve the strategic issue of procuring fighter jets and that it was discussing it with Sweden and the US.

Speaking to the press after the government adopted a defence report for 2018, he said the incumbent government was bolstering and modernising the Croatian army in a systematic and organised way.

Krstičević said Croatia and future generations needed fighter aircraft, and that the procurement of fighter jets would be a huge technological step forward for the Croatian army.

He said that after talks with Israel failed, the procurement was being discussed with the US and Sweden. "When we have concrete information, we will inform the public in a timely manner."

In selecting the best bid, the team of experts in charge will "think of what is best for Croatia," he said. Asked which bid the government was more inclined to, he would not "speculate" and said "there's time."

"We approximately know what the prices are," the minister said, adding that in the procurement attempt with Israel and based on Bulgaria's and Slovakia's fighter aircraft purchases, Croatia had gained the necessary experience and that the crucial thing was that the government was determined to resolve this issue.

The government on Thursday also sent to parliament a bill of amendments to the Defence Act which regulates the establishment of a multinational helicopter crew training centre in Zemunik as well as rules of action in cyberspace for the requirements of the Defence Ministry and the Armed Forces.

The amendments are in line with Croatia's commitments as a member of NATO and international organisations, said Defence Minister Damir Krstičević.

The training centre will be the first of its kind in Croatia, for which purpose the US will provide two new Black Hawk helicopters worth 350 million kuna, he said, adding that an excellence centre would also be established in Zemunik.

The government also endorsed a defence report for 2018, with Krstičević saying it noted a further increase in the defence budget begun in 2017. "The Croatian army is a brand in international missions and operations and our members continue to bolster our country's reputation every day," he said.

More news about the aircraft procurement can be found in the Politics section.