Thursday, 25 November 2021

Two Rafale Jets Fly Over Zagreb

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - Two Dassault Rafale F3R multipurpose aircraft made a flyover of Zagreb on Thursday after Croatia and France signed an agreement on purchasing 12 such fighter jets for Croatia's Air Forces.

The flyover was performed after the agreement-signing ceremony and after the talks between the visiting French President Emmanuel Macron and his host, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

The contract on the purchase of the 12 planes was signed by the defence ministers, Mario Banožić and Forence Parly. 

Croatia is the second country in the European Union after Greece to buy Rafale, and the French bid was chosen in competition with the American (new F-16 Block 70), Swedish (new JAS 39 Gripen) and Israeli (used F-16 Barak) planes.

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Monday, 25 October 2021

PM Says Croatia Owes Rudolf Perešin Eternal Gratitude and Respect

ZAGREB, 25 Oct 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday received Ljerka Perešin, the widow of the legendary Croatian pilot, Brigadier Rudolf Perešin, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his flight with a Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) MiG-21 fighter jet from Bihać to Austria.

On 25 October 1991, Perešin, a Croat, defected from the JNA from Bihać to Klagenfurt and joined the Croatian Army. His plane was returned from Austria to Croatia in 2019 owing to the efforts of former defense minister Damir Krstičević and Croatia's diplomacy.

Perešin is known for his statement in Klagenfurt: "I'm a Croat and I cannot shoot at Croats!" which reflected the feeling of unity and strength among the Croatian people who were doing their best to make the dream of a free and independent Croatia come true.

Eternal thanks to Perešin for his heroism and sacrifice for the homeland

Prime Minister Plenković thanked the Perešin family for their courage, strength, and patriotism and for Rudolf's sacrifice. Perešin lost his life during the 1995 Flash military and police operation when Croatia's forces liberated areas in Western Slavonia.

Plenković said that it is up to all of us to nurture the lasting memory of Homeland War heroes and to ensure dignity for Croatian veterans and their families. It is particularly important for younger generations to foster the memory of Homeland War heroes like Rudolf Perešin was.

"We owe our eternal gratitude and respect to Rudolf Perešin, who showed courage, love, and loyalty towards the homeland and made the greatest sacrifice for its freedom," said the Prime Minister.

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Saturday, 18 September 2021

30th Anniversary of Battle of Vukovar Marked

ZAGREB, 18 Sept, 2021 - The Battle of Vukovar was a turning point in the war for Croatia's freedom and independence, and its participants were heroes who deserve admiration, it was said at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the battle in Vukovar on Saturday. 

Vukovar was heroically defended in the 1991 battle for three months, after which its defence lines were penetrated and the city fell into the hands of Serb paramilitaries and the Yugoslav People's Army.

The ceremony in Vukovar was attended by numerous defenders and wartime commanders, led by the last commander of the city's defence forces, Branko Borković, President Zoran Milanović and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković's envoys, the heads of Vukovar-Srijem and Osijek-Baranja counties, Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava, and government members, led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

"More than 30,000 troops, armed with 600 tanks, 500 armoured vehicles and 180 howitzers were deployed to seize Vukovar which was defended by some 6,000 defenders and volunteers. In that 'David and Goliath' battle, by keeping the enemy engaged in the area of Vukovar, Croatian defenders gave an additional three months to the rest of Croatia to consolidate its armed forces," Plenković said at the commemoration.

Battle was of crucial importance for maturing of Croatian democracy

Thanking defenders for what they did in 1991 by defending Vukovar and Croatia, Plenković said the Battle of Vukovar was a decisive battle of the Homeland War that also had a crucial role in the maturing of the Croatian democracy.

"Even though the suffering in the Homeland War is still a painful memory, notably the fate of 1,858 people gone missing, the victorious Croatia extended a hand of reconciliation and trust, respecting the rights of ethnic minorities, including the Serb minority. Croatia remains committed to the values which helped defend Croatia's freedom and democracy in the Homeland War," said Plenković, underlining the need to continue with efforts to shed light on the fate of all missing persons, punish war criminals, secure adequate satisfaction for former inmates of prison camps, and promote the truth about the Homeland War, notably among children and young people.

Speaking of the government's responsibility for the revitalisation of Vukovar and the entire eastern Slavonia, Plenković said that Vukovar had been named a place of special respect, the Vukovar Hospital had become a national memorial hospital, 18 November, the day of the city's fall, had been declared a national holiday, and the Croatian Army had returned to Vukovar while the prospect of bringing to justice those responsible for war crimes had improved.

Borković: Croatia not owing anyone anything, on everyone's conscience 

The last commander of Vukovar's defence forces and commander of the 204th Vukovar Brigade, Branko Borković, said that Croatia today was a member of NATO and the European Union and that "it does not owe anything to anyone and is on everyone's conscience."

He said that Croatia is not an accidental state, is not "a successor either to the Ustasha or to Partisans" and was not created in World War II.

Borković noted that in recent years many political and social organisations as well as various office-holders at local and national levels and public figures had knowingly or unknowingly acted below the high standards set by Vukovar's struggle and sacrifice.

As part of today's commemoration, held outside the city's Eltz Castle, Croatian Air Force jets and its Wings of Storm aerobatic team flew over the event. Earlier in the day, state and other delegations laid wreaths and lit candles at the Homeland War Memorial Cemetery.

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Sunday, 15 August 2021

Croatian Planes Contain Fires in Bosnia

ZAGREB, 15 Aug, 2021 - Croatian Air Force fire-fighting planes on Sunday managed to contain three wildfires in the Široki Brijeg area, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they were sent at the country's request, while many fire sites are still active in the Mostar and Jablanica areas.

The fires in the Široki Brijeg area are being put out by fire-fighters and the local population.

The planes took off this morning from Zemunik air base near Zadar, taking water from a lake near Tomislavgrad, BiH.

The request for sending them came on Saturday from the authorities of the Western Herzegovina and Herzegovina-Neretva cantons.

Most fires in Herzegovina are difficult to put out due to the mountainous terrain.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Milanović: Military Aircraft Procurement is a Major Project

ZAGREB, 20 May 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that the procedure for the purchase of fighter jets was very strict, but he would not reveal details of today's Defence Council meeting or the type of aircraft Croatia would go for.

"The process has been good so far. It hasn't been compromised, there have been no information leaks. Eventually, the cost will have to be presented to the Croatian public," Milanović told the press.

He said it was important that Croatia had the fighter jets by no later than 2024. "They have to be here by then," Milanović said, adding that Croatia should not be without its own resources even for a day. 

Milanović said that this was a major project and that he hoped the government would take a decision on it before Armed Forces Day, which is observed on 28 May.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

No Formal Offer For Procurement Of Used F-16 Jets, Says Minister

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020 - Defence Minister Mario Banozic on Wednesday denied information published on the website about the US company ProAero having submitted an official bid to procure 12 used F-16 jets for the Croatian Air Force in the amount of US$ 140-170 million, saying that bids would be submitted next week.

"There has been no official bid, offers will be submitted on September 9 and they will be submitted... by those who have been informed accordingly. Among the bidders is the United States with the new F-16 jets and Sweden with new Gripen jets," Banozic said during a visit to Split.

Among the bids are also used European-made jets from France and Italy, the Rafal and the Eurofighter, the minister said, noting that bids for used F-16 planes had also been invited from Israel, Greece, and Norway.

The story about the purchase of used US F-16 fighter jets appeared "on a portal where certain self-proclaimed military analysts" have made the offer public, he said.

"All those who have carried incorrect information from that portal could have seen that the portal features a company that is one of the said bidders and that advertises itself on the portal," he said.

Neither the date nor the supplier suit us, nor is this a binding offer, the minister said, adding that going public with the information was a thoughtless act that misinformed the public.

Asked if Croatia preferred the US offer, he said that when bids were submitted, a decision would be made based on a set of parameters.

"Naturally the final decision will be one between two countries, and it will be a political decision. A commission comprising people from the Defence Ministry, the Armed Forces, and other departments will put forward a proposal to the government, which will confirm the decision at a session," said Banozic.

The portal has said that the US company ProAero is offering Croatia a squadron consisting of 12 used F-16 jets at a price between US$ 140 and 170 million, while 30 such fighter jets would cost between $399 and 424 million.

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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Plenković Confirms Postponement of Procurement of Fighter Jets

ZAGREB, April 2, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at the government's meeting on Thursday that in the circumstances of the struggle to curb the coronavirus epidemic, his cabinet decided to put off the procurement of fighter jets for the time being.

"At this moment this is the only logical and correct decision," Plenković said.

Croatia will notify in writing all the countries that are participating in the tender process, of its decision to postpone the process of purchase of fighter jets.

The government today also decided on the postponement of the CROIMAS international military air show that was due to have been held at the Zemunik air base near Zadar on 30 May.

Earlier on Thursday, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević informed reporters that the Ministry of Defence would put off the procurement of multi-role combat aircraft to demonstrate solidarity and to save money in a time of crisis due to the coronavirus.

Krstičević told reporters ahead of a government session that talks about the procurement of combat jets would continue once the pandemic is over and the economic situation improves.

Krstičević added that there was a lot of room for making savings in the defence department, that analyses were underway, and that the Croatian Army would take into account solidarity, the situation and the military readiness levels.

More news about the Ministry of Defence can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Croatian Air Force Participate in Putting Out Fire Near Šibenik

Summer in Dalmatia often unfortunately means the presence of potentially damaging wildfires. A couple of summers ago, the Croatian coast was dominated by horrendous forest fires which caused untold material damage, some of which were suspected to have been started purposely. One such incident near Šibenik has thankfully been avoided.

This year, despite one serious fire which could have been devastating on Zrće beach, the weather hasn't been as warm, the sun hasn't (yet) been as fierce, and there haven't been as many reports of wildfires taking hold in the dense, dry Mediterranean pine forests which cover the rocky Dalmatian hills.

Still, some fires have occurred, and one which took hold close to the historic city of Šibenik was thankfully put out with help from the Croatian Armed Forces.

As Morski writes on the 21st of July, 2019, one Canadair CL-415 and two Airtractor AT-802's along with the members of the firefighting department of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia participated in an afternoon of fire fighting in Dobri Dolac-Zaton near Šibenik in Šibenik-Knin County on the afternoon of the 21st of July, 2019.

According to the first data from the field, about ten hectares of grass land, low vegetation and pine trees in the forest in the area near Šibenik have been burnt. The fire was initially attacked by 33 firefighters, who managed to localise it at around 18:20, as was reported from the County Centre 112.

From the beginning of this year's fire-fighting season (June the 17th), including July the 20th, 2019, Croatian firefighting forces were engaged in extinguishing twelve fires (in Šibenik-Knin County, Split-Dalmatia County, Zadar County, Lika-Senj County, Istria County, and in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County).

Canadairs were recently used to deal with what would have been an absolutely devastating fire in Novalja on the island of Pag, and Orbiter 3B aircraft systems have been engaged eleven times so far.

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Saturday, 5 January 2019

Croatian Air Force Helicopters Transported 885 Patients in 2018

The helicopters and their pilots, as well as other staff of the Croatian Air Force have a lot to be thanked for when looking back on last year. 

It isn't only the tireless efforts of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) which need to be praised when it comes to dealing with emergency medical situations up and down the country, but the Croatian Air Force and the Croatian Army, as well as their equipment, as a whole.

As Morski writes on the 5th of January, 2019, during 2018, a total of 885 patients were transported by both transport and multipurpose helicopters belonging to the Croatian Air Force (HRZ), whose medical issues, usually those of an emergency nature, required emergency medical aviation. During the transit of these helicopters, 2,283 Croatian Air Force flights were carried out and completed, totalling 855 hours in the air.

Additionally, throughout 2018, 23 requests were received for the assistance of Croatian Air Force helicopters in search and rescue operations on the land, during which a total of 15 injured persons and 132 members of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) were safely transported. During these particular operations, a total of 107 Croatian Air Force flights were carried out and completed, which amounted to 43.25 hours in the air.

Namely, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia continue to provide excellent support in dire situations in which emergency air transport is required, and they remain in a state of constant readiness (during the day and night) with two helicopters, one of which being the helicopter of the 93rd Air Base, and the the second belonging to the 91st Air Base, stationed at Rijeka Airport's Krk helipad.

In most cases, Croatian Ait Force flights sent out for emergency medical situations work alongside established helipads which fulfil the necessary 24-hour operating conditions KBC Firule, Hvar, Stari Grad, Sućuraj, Selca, Korčula, Blato, Šolta, Dubrovnik-Medarevo, Rab, Lastovo-Ubli, Vis, Lošinj, Cres i helidrom Delta – Rijeka), the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia said.

Make sure to stay up to date with everything you need to know about the Croatian Air Force and much, much more by following our dedicated lifestyle and news pages.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

NATO Helicopter Training Centre to Be Opened in Zadar

ZAGREB, October 4, 2018 - The defence ministers of NATO members Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary signed in Brussels on Thursday a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a multinational centre in Zadar, Croatia for the training of helicopter crews engaged in special missions.

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