By the 28th of this month, on Armed Forces Day, the final decision on which military aircraft Croatia has chosen will be known, announced Minister of Defense Mario Banožić. Following today's session of the Defense Council, only a brief statement was issued stating that support had been given to the Government in completing the process of selecting a multi-role fighter aircraft.
It was also the first official meeting between the president and prime minister in a long time, but it took place, participants say, in a serious atmosphere in line with the subject matter.
“It is not yet known exactly which aircraft Croatia is procuring; but the government has received support from the defense council to complete the process,” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at today's government cabinet session.
“Naturally the is the biggest and most important procurement in the history of the Croatian military, and it will enable a type of capability that is in any case beneficial for us to have in the future and it makes us an important actor in a security-defence sense. Not only for national security which is the first priority, but also as a more credible ally within the framework of the North Atlantic Alliance, a partner within the framework of the European Union and we can participate in various international missions on a completely different level,” said Plenković.
Armed Forces Supreme Commander, President Zoran Milanović, used the anniversary of the establishment of the Support Command to refer to what he said was a short, but effective and clear, session of the Council.
“We didn't get into those details, but I think we all understood each other well and I would like the government to adopt that decision as soon as possible. The procedure was very strict, I can tell you that, almost algorithmic, and it's not that complicated, it could have been earlier, but it will happen now. If it's the American product, it still hasn't begun to be produced, if it's the French product, it also just beginning to be exported. What is most important is that Croatia has the planes somewhere in 2024 at the latest,” said President Milanović.
Minister of Defense Mario Banožić expects that the final decision by the government on the selection of aircraft will be known by Armed Forces Day on May 28th.
“It is my expectation that by the day we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Armed Forces we will have a final decision in which you will find out which multi-purpose fighter aircraft is in question,” said Minister Banožić.
Planes being mention in the public are the American F-16 and the French Rafale. Croatia intends to spend at least a billion dollars to buy a squadron of 12 aircraft.
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