- Published: 28.05.2021.
Plenković: with a multi-role fighter aircraft Croatia is gaining a powerful strategic deterrent for the next 30-40 years
On Friday, 28 May 2021, at its 59th session, the Croatian Government adopted a Decision on the Procurement of the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA).The Government launched the process of procuring a multi-role fighter aircraft on 4 July 2019. Offers were sent by the United States (for the new F-16 C/D Block 70), Sweden (for the new Gripen C/D), France (for the used Rafale F3-R) and Israel (for the used F-16 C/D Block 30). The Inter-Agency Commission thoroughly evaluated the received offers and unanimously adopted the Feasibility Study for the Procurement of a Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft, which was submitted to the Government.
The Government assessed that France’s offer was the best and decided to procure 12 multi-role Rafale fighter aircraft (10 single-seat and 2 two-seat aircraft).
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković pointed out that the purchase of a multi-role fighter aircraft Rafale F3-R will significantly increase the capabilities of the Croatian Air Force.
“By procuring fighter jets, Croatia is gaining a powerful strategic deterrent for the next 30 to 40 years, which significantly strengthens its international position and its airspace protection and multiplies the overall combat capability of the Croatian Army. The purchase of a multi-role fighter aircraft will strengthen Croatia’s position as an ally within NATO and a partner within the European Union. With this move, Croatia will for the first time reach the level of spending of 2% of GDP for strengthening its defense capabilities, which is the goal of all NATO members”, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
The Rafale is a twin-engine multi-role fighter aircraft equipped with advanced attack-navigation systems, the latest-generation radar with high integration of sensors and self-defense systems, as well as the ability to use a wide range of weapons, making it one of the best multi-role fighter aircraft today. Among other things, the Rafale is the only one of the four offered aircraft that has the possibility of supercruising, it can carry the most payload (9.5 tons) and has the lowest radar reflection, which makes it partially invisible.
In addition to the aircraft, the French offer also 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 authorized representatives of manufacturers for a period of three years and a warranty of 12 months per each delivered aircraft, engine, other equipment and spare parts.
The operational lifetime of Croatia’s current MiG-21 aircraft expires in 2024, which makes it necessary to introduce the multi-role fighter aircraft into operational use as soon as possible. The level of national security will be raised to a level that Croatia has never had before. This will not only be the largest investment in Croatia’s Armed Forces since independence, but also the largest investment in ensuring lasting peace.
The Government is fully aware of the current situation and challenges, and in particular the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the devastating earthquakes that hit Zagreb and Banovina. Through responsible management of public finances, quality use of European funds and strong measures, the Government has managed to secure a financial framework to mitigate the effects of the crisis, preserve jobs and liquidity of companies and will continue to attend to the most affected parts of the economy. At the same time, the Government will secure the financial resources needed for the reconstruction of earthquake-affected areas, especially through European and international sources of funding.
In addition, the French offer, valued at 999 million euros, which will be realized through an agreement between the two governments (Government to Government), is the most favourable and provides for the most convenient payment in instalments that will not slow down our entry into the euro area.
The Prime Minister thanked the United States, Sweden and Israel for their high quality offers and for the great effort they have invested in this demanding process. He also expressed satisfaction with the high quality of work and thanked members of the Government and all experts who have participated in this process in the past almost two years.
Photo: Dassault Aviation - K. Tokunaga