Defense Minister Mario Banožić announced late on Sunday evening that the interdepartmental aircraft purchase commission will recommend the best bid by December 12.
"Given that the bids were submitted to the Defence Ministry on September 9 and we have three months, it is easy to calculate that the deadline is December 12. In these three months the interdepartmental commission will evaluate all the bids," Banožić said in an interview on HTV.
He noted that the best bid may not be final, adding that the commission would need to communicate directly with each bidder. There are various elements that will be decisive, such as the number of flight simulators, the weapons package, pilot training, the payment plan, and cooperation between the states and the bidders are also expected to reduce the amount of the initial offer, he said.
Banožić said that Croatia should avoid a situation in which other countries would guard its skies. "Croatia should definitely avoid that because it will not be for free. If we leave it to Hungary or Italy, which have been mentioned as one of the solutions, we will pay for it, but that money will go to another country."