Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Banožić Announces Equipping Heavy Infantry Battalion with Bradleys

ZAGREB, 13 July 2022 - During his visit to the mechanized armored brigade (GOMBR) at the Vinkovci barracks on Wednesday, Defence Minister Mario Banožić said that the heavy infantry battalion will be equipped with Bradley fighting vehicles which will be maintained by the Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles company.

"We will carry out the reorganization and equipping of one mechanized battalion into a heavy infantry battalion that will be part of the medium infantry brigade," specified Banožić.

The minister recalled that at the beginning of this year the Government decided to accept a donation of 89 Bradley vehicles, to bring 62 vehicles into the operational condition and deliver equipment and services for 62 vehicles. He added that in the first period of the Long-term Development Plan (DPR ), the heavy infantry battalion will be equipped with Bradleys that will be maintained by the Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles company.

"In the new DPR, our priority is to invest in the barracks where you live and work. Since the beginning of this government's term, the Croatian Army is focused on the soldier and that is why we are constantly working to improve their living and working conditions and material rights,'' said Banožić.

Banožić mentioned the KFOR peace support operation in Kosovo, in which members from the GOMBR units are expected to participate in the next contingent, as well as NATO's enhanced vigilance activity in Hungary with up to 70 troops.

The minister pointed out that the soldier is the center of the defense system and that 200 soldiers were recently accepted into active military service.

The DPR of the Armed Forces of is a fundamental strategic document that projects the development of the capabilities of the Croatian Army until 2034. It will soon be put into procedure alongside Croatia's Defense Strategy. In addition to equipping the infantry with Bradley fighting vehicles, the acquisition and equipping of Patria armored fighting vehicles is planned.

"A short-range air defense system will be procured for the Croatian Army, followed by a medium-range one," Banožić underscored.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Plenković: Croatia to Procure 89 Bradleys for US$ 145.3 Million

ZAGREB, 26 Jan 2022 - Croatia and the USA have agreed on the procurement of Bradley fighting vehicles, for which Croatia will pay US$ 145.3 million, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday.

"Agreement has been reached with the US side regarding the army fighting vehicles that have been discussed over the past few years," Plenković said in a comment on the M2A2 ODS fighting vehicle.

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.

Croatia will obtain 62 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 equipment includes a 25 mm automatic cannon, a 7.62 mm machine gun, and anti-tank missiles.

Plenković said that with the deal, which had been discussed since 2017, Croatia had achieved several strategic objectives - strengthening its alliance with the USA, lowering the price of the vehicles in relation to earlier talks, and securing a job for Đuro Đaković, which, he said, could become a "broader" service centre.

By joining NATO Croatia has assumed the obligation to form by 2026 a medium infantry brigade, which requires appropriate equipment for the army, the PM said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

PM: Detailed Reports Requested After Dilemmas on Bradleys

ZAGREB, 6 Jan 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday commented on the procurement of Bradley US fighting vehicles, saying there had been dilemmas within the army's General Staff and the Defence Ministry, which was why he requested detailed reports from them.

Speaking to the press, Plenković said he had "initiated (a) detailed verification of what we can get, how much it costs, what the Croatian Army needs."

He said the procurement was a detailed process that began in 2017 and thereby Croatia was reinforcing its defence cooperation with the United States as well as its own army and contribution to NATO. Croatia is also strengthening its economy since part of the job will go to the Đuro Đaković company, he added.

Commenting on President Zoran Milanović's pressure to procure the Bradleys, the prime minister said, "Pressuring the government, which was the one to embark on this process, is a little ridiculous."

Plenković said he initiated a verification process over the past six weeks and that the General Staff and the Defence Ministry were consolidating their stand.

He said more consultations would be held. "We'll decide as we planned, but fully conscious that we have the key elements on the viability of that process."

Plenković said that as he understood it, the stand of the General Staff and the Defence Ministry was to procure the A2 ODS version of the Bradleys. This version is on the table, but together with the weaponry and everything which makes the vehicles good and useful, he added.

Commenting on today's record-high number of daily coronavirus cases in Croatia, Plenković said the fourth wave of the pandemic, dominated by the Delta variant, had merged with the wave in which Omicron is dominant. He said the number was as expected and reiterated that protection from the virus lay in vaccination and individual responsibility.

Asked if hospitality establishments would be required to close earlier, he said the national COVID-19 crisis management team had not yet considered that option.

Commenting on the opposition's collecting signatures for a vote of no confidence in Construction Minister Darko Horvat, Plenković said it would not pass. "We will reject this (initiative) too. The parliamentary majority is strong."

The prime minister also commented on the latest developments concerning Serbian tennis player Novak Đoković, who was denied entry to Australia, saying that everyone should comply with COVID regulations.

A journalist noted that Croatia changed the definition of close contact after Plenković met with Đoković after the 2020 Adria Tour in Zadar. After the tournament, Đoković tested positive for the virus.

Plenković said that story and the one regarding a religious procession on Hvar island, also from 2020, were "the stupidest and rudest theses in the media sphere when it comes to what is called, deliberately and in a politically orchestrated way, the inconsistency of the (COVID crisis management team)."

The prime minister also commented on the search for Matej Periš, a 27-year-old Croatian who went missing in Belgrade on 31 December, saying he was communicating with the relevant ministries on a daily basis and that they were communicating with the Serbian authorities.

"I have the impression we still don't have the whole picture," he said, adding that as prime minister he was interested in "getting the full story."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.