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Croatia to make decision on fighter jet procurement by Dec 12

ZAGREB (Croatia), September 15 (SeeNews) – Croatia intends to come up with a decision in its ongoing fighter jet procurement procedure by December 12, defence minister Mario Banozic said.

The Croatian government expects that the bidders could lower their price offers in the meantime, the government’s press office quoted Banozic as telling public broadcaster HRT over the weekend.

Banozic did not provide any details on the submitted bids.

Last week, the defence ministry said Croatia had received offers for fighter jet procurement from Sweden, the U.S., France and Israel. It did not elaborate.

Banozic confirmed back then that the government is sticking to the plan to buy 12 fighter jets.

In January, the Croatian government sent requests for proposals for the delivery of new fighter jets to the U.S. (F-16), and Sweden (JAS Gripen), and requests for the procurement of used fighter jets to France (Rafale), Italy (Eurofighter) and Norway, Greece and Israel (F-16). 

In September 2019, the defence ministry said that the country had received 13 proposals for the delivery of fighter jets after sending letters to 26 potentially interested parties.

Back then, Robert Kopal, an advisor to prime minister Andrej Plenkovic, said that the government aims to buy 12 fourth-generation fighter jets by the end of 2020.

In January 2019, Croatia cancelled the agreed purchase of 12 multi-purpose U.S.-made F-16 Barak jets from Israel, after the $500 million (421 million euro) deal was blocked by the United States.

In March 2018, Croatia reached an agreement with Israel for the acquisition of the F-16 fighter jets used by Israel’s Air Force, in order to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-21 fighters. The deal with Israel needed Washington’s approval for the sale of a U.S.-made product to a third party. In December 2018, Israeli TV broadcaster Channel 10 reported that the Trump administration had blocked the deal because it was angry that Israel had added advanced electronic systems to its F-16s in order to sweeten its offer in the Croatian tender. 

($=0.841982 euro)

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