Yesterday was the deadline for submitting bids for the Croatian Defense Ministry's tender for the acquisition of fighter jets. Four countries submitted bids. The United States is offering new F-16 block 70's, Sweden's bid is for 12 new Gripens, France's bid is for used Rafales, while Israel is offering used F-16 Block 30's.
Defense Minister Mario Banožić noted yesterday, however, that the details of the bids will not be made public until the bids undergo a three month verification process. He added that on the basis of the verification a proposal will be made for government, one that he believes will be ready by the end of the year.
Speaking on the matter at Thursday's cabinet session Prime Minister Andrej Plenković noted that everyone will be given an opportunity to have their opinions heard in the acquisition process: “Croatia's goals here is to maintain its readiness, to protect its airspace in the interests of national security. Yesterday the deadline expired, and over the next three months, basically until the end of this year, the evaluation process will be in motion. We have named the new commission, those who wanted to participate in its work are doing so, those who didn't will have an opportunity to be heard through bodies such as Parliament's Defense Committee, or through the opinion of the National Security Council. However, at the end of the day, it is government that will decide on which aircraft we will buy.”
President Zoran Milanović, who is also the supreme commander of the Croatian Armed Forces, noted that while he is not part of the decision making process, he would prefer to see Croatia buy the F-16 Block 70's being offered by the United States: “As you know I never run from personal responsibility, if I were the prime minister, I would most likely chair the new commission to decide on which bid will be accepted. The president is called on in an advisory role here, just as is my national security advisor, who sits on the National Security Council, so there's no need for me to give my opinion twice. The first choice should be the American aircraft.”