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Croatia purchasing 12 French Rafale F3R fighter jets for €999 million

croatia buys French fighter jets Dassault rafale

Dassault Rafale (Photo credit: Tim Felce – Airwolfhound/CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons)

ZAGREB, 28 May 2021 – The Croatian government will procure 12 used French multi-purpose fighter aircraft of the Dassault Rafale F3R type at a price of 999 million euros, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced on Friday.

“The government assessed that the offer of France was the best and made a decision on the procurement of 12 multi-purpose fighter planes Rafale, 10 single-seater and 2 two-seater,” Plenković explained.

He added that the selected multi-role fighter aircraft is the latest generation and is considered one of the best in the world.

“The French offer turned out to be the best because for the least money Croatia gets the best rated and equipped plane,” said Plenković, emphasising that the offer is the most favourable and provides the best instalment payment which will not slow down Croatia’s entry into the euro area.

The Prime Minister added that by purchasing fighter jets, Croatia is gaining a powerful strategic deterrent for the next 30 to 40 years, which significantly strengthens its international position, airspace protection and multiplies the overall combat capability of the Croatian Army.

“The purchase of a multi-purpose fighter aircraft will also strengthen Croatia’s position as an ally within NATO and a partner within the European Union. Thus, for the first time, we will reach 2% of GDP allocated for strengthening our defense capabilities, which is the goal of all NATO members,” he said.

The Rafale aircraft is a twin-engine multi-purpose fighter equipped with advanced attack-navigation systems, the latest generation radar with high integration of sensors and self-defence systems, as well as the ability to use a wide range of weapons. It also has the ability to super-cruise, can carry the most cargo (9.5 tons) and has the lowest radar reflection out of the other jets which were on offer to purchase.

In addition to aircraft, the French offer includes a flight simulator, basic weapons package, ground and test equipment, spare parts, staff training according to the principle of “training of trainers”, comprehensive support from authorised representatives of manufacturers for a period of three years and a 12-month warranty for each aircraft, engine and other equipment and spare parts delivered.

Croatia received four offers to select from. The United States offered new F-16 Block 70, Sweden new Gripen C/D model and Israel used F-16 C/D Block 30.

The service life of the current Croatian MiG-21 aircraft expires during 2024, which is why it is necessary to put a multi-purpose fighter aircraft into operational use as soon as possible, the government said. The purchase is the largest investment in the Armed Forces since Croatia’s independence.

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