The Defence Ministry of Croatia was receiving offers for multi-purpose fighter aircraft from 9 am to 11.30 am today, which will be followed by a three-month evaluation period before a final proposal is addressed to the government, Defence Minister Mario Banožić told the press outside the government offices on Wednesday.
Asked whether the public would be informed of the details of the offers, he replied in the negative, adding that the offers would go through a three-month process of evaluation based on which a proposal would be made for the government.
A final decision on the best offer will be ready for the government by the end of the year, Banožić said.
He said that initial offers had been requested from the United States for new F-16 aircraft and from Sweden for Gripen aircraft. Offers were also requested for used European-made aircraft, including Italy’s Eurofighter and France’s Rafale, as well as for used F-16s from Norway, Greece and Israel.
Banožić said it was difficult for him to say how much the aircraft would cost because that depended on the offers. He confirmed that Croatia was buying 12 aircraft.
Asked to comment on the decision by the President’s Office not to take part in the work of the interdepartmental commission on the purchase of the aircraft, the minister said: “The president and I have regular briefings, I had one yesterday, we work together. He himself said that this decision rests with the government, but I think that this is important for all of us, for our security, and it must be a single decision.”
The President’s Office has said that it will not have a representative on the commission, but the president will take part in a political decision on the purchase of military aircraft in accordance with his constitutional powers.
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) said in a statement that representatives of FMV and the Swedish Embassy in Croatia had submitted an offer this morning, which includes new Gripen C/D aircraft and a package of logistical support and training for Croatian Air Force pilots and technicians./ibna