Two American Black Hawk helicopters have arrived in Croatia. They were delivered in parts to the Zagreb Airport by a US military aircraft for strategic transport. The helicopters are an American donation worth about 50 million dollars, and Croatia will buy two more Black Hawks, for which more than 100 million dollars have been set aside.
The two Croatian Black How helicopters arrived on an American C-17 transport plane; a donation from the Americans, our strategic allies. In the coming weeks, they will be put together by American experts and they will be ready in a few weeks: their primary purpose will be support for Special Forces, which will be trained in Zadar.
“These two helicopters will be ready for use in a few weeks, we are gradually finishing the final phase of training and in three months we will achieve initial operative readiness. The two helicopters will firstly have the task of participating in support operations for Special Forces. There will be space and time for them to conduct other combat tasks, troop transport tasks and support to civilian institutions,” said Croatian Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Admiral Robert Hranj.
Minister of Defense, Mario Banožić, said that with the purchase of the American helicopters, we are gradually transitioning from Eastern to Western technology, noting that it is still not known how many there will be in the end, perhaps 10.
“Whether the number will be ten, eight or six, we'll see, but it is our desire to acquire more. Naturally for a while we will still have the Black Hawks and our Russian helicopters,” said Minister of Defense Mario Banožić.
Minister Banožić explained that for now they will be located in hangars at the Pleso airbase, while there is a project in Lučko that is about to be signed.
“This is a smaller hangar for parking, a little bigger than a thousand square meters. The public procurement process has been completed, and the contracting phase is underway. In the same manner a bigger service hanger is in the project phase and we expect it to be completed in the first half of 2023,” said Banožić.
So far, seven pilots have been trained to operate the Black Hawk helicopters and an eighth pilot is leaving for the USA soon, while 30 technicians have also been trained.
Two additional purchased Black Hawks should arrive in Croatia during the summer, and the entire purchase is worth about 153 million dollars.
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