Government unanimously votes to buy Israeli F-16 jets

Government unanimously votes to buy Israeli F-16 jets Izvor: Ilustracija, REUTERS

Croatian government unanimously adopted on Thursday the decision on the procurement of 12 F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets from Israel that will cost 2.9 billion kuna (€390 million) over a ten year period.

Defence Minister, Damir Krstičević, said this was one of the biggest decision made in the defence sector after the 1990s war of independence.

"This is a historic day for the Croatian Air Force. This decision is an investment into the safety of Croatia, it is affordable, and the best (option) for us," Krstičević said.

The government's formal decision came after Croatia's national defence council accepted and recommended Israel's offer on Tuesday evening.

The Israeli bid includes the delivery of 12 upgraded used Israeli F-16 Barak aircraft. The aircraft are between 25 and 30 years old, and will replace the outdated MiG-21 aircraft used by the Croatian Air Force.

The Israeli bid also includes two flight simulators, the training of pilots and maintenance personnel, and aircraft armament. The plan is to use these aircraft for up to 25 years.

(1 = 7.44 Croatian kuna)

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