18:18 / 23.11.2021.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Milanović: Croatian Armed Forces needs to upgrade its IFVs

President Zoran Milanović

President Zoran Milanović

Foto: Goran Stanzl / PIXSELL

Croatia recently adopted a decision to acquire 12 Dassault Rafale fighter jets for its armed forces. The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation.

The Office of the Croatian President and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, issued a statement today in which it states that President Zoran Milanović welcomes the decision to acquire twelve multi-purpose military fighter jets to revamp Croatia's air defenses. However, it also notes that the procurement of newer generation Bradley infantry fighting vehicles is also of strategic importance. According to the statement, the president feels that, like the purchase of the French Rafale fighter jets, this procurement would also represent a major financial challenge for the national defense budget, a budget the Office of the President feels still needs to be clearly defined. It goes on to say that implementing a decision to procure the vehicles must not jeopardize the development of operational capabilities of the remaining branches of the Armed Forces.

Excerpt from the statement issued by the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia: “The President feels that an even development of all branches of the Armed Forces, primarily oriented at achieving the demanding operational capabilities intended for national defense, and subsequently as a contribution to the collective defense and participation of the Croatian Armed Forces in NATO peace operations and missions is imperative... The procurement of the Bradley fighting vehicle should be viewed not merely as a project that would enhance the combat capabilities of the Croatian Ground Forces with the participation of Croatian industry, but also as a confirmation of the continuity of a longstanding and successful cooperation between Croatia and the United States of America.”

Meanwhile, Parliament's Defense Committee convened today to discuss the international engagements and missions in which the Croatian Armed Forces are participating in. Committee chair, Franko Vidović, a former member of the SDP and now independent, said that the committee had not discussed the ongoing tensions between President Milanović and Defense Minister Mario Banožić: “I wouldn't say that there was any discussion about the relationship between the president and the minister. What we did discuss was the situation in the Croatian Armed Forces, and this will definitely be one of the items on the agenda at either the next session or the one after that. As you know we do not have the authority to meddle in any operational segment of the Armed Forces, but we are definitely an element of monitoring or control with regard how the entire system functions. At the end of the day we have a legal obligation to what is really going on and what the consequences of this conflict are.”

For weeks now President Milanović and Minister Banožić have been at odds, accusing each other of imbuing their personal politics into decisions regarding the Croatian Armed Forces. Recently, the president called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to sack the minister, while Banožić called on the Chief of the General Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj, to tender his resignation.

Source: HRT

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