Croatia to upgrade air force with aging Israeli F16s

Croatia to upgrade air force with aging Israeli F16s
Croatia will upgrade its aging air force of Soviet-made air force with F16 fighter jets from Israel.
2 min read
28 March, 2018
Croatia will purchase the F16 from Israel [Getty]
Croatia said Wednesday it will go ahead with the purchase of a dozen upgraded F-16 fighter jets from Israel, to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era aircraft.

Earlier this year, Israel and Croatia moved forward with a proposal for the sale of the used F16s, after two other operators of the US-designed aircraft also put in bids, along with Sweden's Gripen.

The new agreement will see Israel supply the upgraded models of the fighter jet worth around $500 million.

Earlier reports had suggested that Croatia would purchase 30 F-16s to replace the some six Mig-21s it currently operates.

Announcing the sale, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said Croatia would will go for the cheaper option of the four bids, with reports that the Swedish Gripen sale would cost around $200 million more.

"If Croatia was a richer country, and if our economy was stronger, maybe we could have picked a more expensive offer," he said.

"But, based on the parameters presented to us by our expert team, we believe that we have made a responsible decision which will meet all the needs of the Croatian air force in the next 30 years."

Croatia is engaged in a mini arms race with neighbour Serbia, who recently purchased the Mig-29 fighter jet from Russia.

Croatia's F16 sale - which still needs to be formally ratified by the government - is the country's biggest arms purchase since its bloody 1991-95 war with the Serb-dominated Yugoslav government.

Times of Israel reported earlier this year that Tel Aviv has been looking for buyers of its aging and retired aircraft.

Israel will upgrade its air force with the new, US-made stealth F-35 fighter jet, which should be operational next year.

Agencies contributed to this story.