Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Two Black Hawk Helicopters, Donated by USA, Presented at Pleso Airbase

ZAGREB, 25 May 2022 - Two multi-purpose Black Hawk (UH-60M) helicopters, donated to Croatia by the USA, were presented at the Pleso military airbase on Wednesday, with Defence Minister Mario Banožić participating in the first test flight.

The two Black Hawk helicopters and their equipment are valued at $138 million, with $53 million provided by the US government and $85 million by the Defence Ministry.

The helicopters will primarily be used to transport people and equipment. They can transport up to 11 passengers and two technical pilots.

They can develop a speed of up to 360 kilometres per hour, their ceiling altitude is six kilometres and the maximum flying distance 511 kilometres.

US envoy, Commanding General, Special Operations Command-Europe Major General David Tabor underscored that with the US donation, Croatia has strengthened its capabilities and security as a country and as a member of NATO.

After the test flight, Minister Banožić said that the helicopters are equipped with excellent equipment.

He said that the plan is for the other Black Hawks to arrive by the end of the year.

With regard to the training of Croatian pilots, Banožić said that "enough of them have undergone training until now" but he didn't want to reveal how many.

He commented on the replacement of the Soviet-made Mi-8 and Mi-171 helicopter fleet whose resources expire in 2023, saying that talks were being held with the allies and partners regarding further steps. 

Talking about the construction of hangars for the new equipment, Banožić said that infrastructure development was launched in 2021, however, problems occurred with the public procurement procedure and it had to be cancelled.

Two hangars are currently subject to public procurement procedure. They should be built in six months' time after the procurement is signed, Banožić said, noting that two new hangars should be built by 2023.

Attending today's presentation of the US military donation was also President and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Zoran Milanović.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Two Black Hawk Helicopters Arrived in Croatia Today from the US

February 3, 2022 - Croatia continues to increase its military capacity, after acquiring the 12 Rafale jets from France in November and the 89 Bradley fighting vehicles from the United States in January, now awaits the arrival of two Black Hawk helicopters today.

Two UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters arrive in Croatia today, reports HRT News. Both helicopters will be delivered to Zagreb's Franjo Tuđman airport via a US military plane for strategic transport. It is a donation from the United States, and Croatia will buy two more of such helicopters and set aside up to $100 million for them. 

The helicopters will be delivered in the standard configuration of the US Army with Croatian markings. This will improve the helicopter capabilities of the Croatian Air Force.

Two Croatian pilots were trained to fly Black Hawk helicopters in Minnesota, and helicopter maintenance technicians were also trained.

Defense Minister Banozić said last July during a visit to the Ripley military camp in the United States, where Croatian soldiers are regularly trained, that the 2019 US government donation was an important support to Croatia's national policy aimed at switching to equipment of Western origin.

The two Black Hawk helicopters can also be used to assist civilian institutions in extinguishing large-scale forest fires, search and rescue, and emergency air medical transportation.

Military cooperation between Croatia and the US state of Minnesota began 25 years ago as part of the "State Partnership" program. During this period, the Minnesota National Guard became one of the most loyal military partners of the Croatian Army.

Within Croatia's project to strengthen its military capacity with Western technology, the recent purchases of 12 Rafales military jets from France and 89 Bradley combat vehicles from the United States should be highlighted.

Croatia bought from France 12 Dassault Rafale F3R used multipurpose fighter jets - ten single-seats and two two-seaters - for €999 million to be paid in five installments from 2022 to 2026.

Croatia will obtain 62 Bradley fighting vehicles, 22 vehicles for spare parts, and five for training, and their upgrading will be performed at the Đuro Đaković company in Slavonski Brod. The total value of the deal is $196.4 million, the US donation will amount to $51.1 million, which means that Croatia will pay $145.3 million.

For more, check out our politics section.