The Croatian Government adopted at the session on Friday a Decision on the Procurement of the Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA). Unofficially, the price for the entire package is about EUR 999 million.
The Government assessed that France’s offer was the best and decided to procure 12 multi-role Rafale fighter aircraft (10 single-seat and 2 two-seat aircraft).
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković pointed out that the purchase of a multi-role fighter aircraft Rafale F3-R will significantly increase the capabilities of the Croatian Air Force.
“By procuring fighter jets, Croatia is gaining a powerful strategic deterrent for the next 30 to 40 years, which significantly strengthens its international position and its airspace protection and multiplies the overall combat capability of the Croatian Army. The purchase of a multi-role fighter aircraft will strengthen Croatia’s position as an ally within NATO and a partner within the European Union. With this move, Croatia will for the first time reach the level of spending of 2% of GDP for strengthening its defence capabilities, which is the goal of all NATO members”, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
According to a government press release, the Rafale is a twin-engine multi-role fighter aircraft equipped with advanced attack-navigation systems, the latest-generation radar with high integration of sensors and self-defence systems, as well as the ability to use a wide range of weapons, making it one of the best multi-role fighter aircraft today. Among other things, the Rafale is the only one of the four offered aircraft that has the possibility of super cruising; it can carry the most useful load (9.5 tons) and has the lowest radar reflection, which makes it partially invisible.
In addition to the aircraft, the French offer also includes a flight simulator, basic weapons package, ground and test equipment, spare parts, staff training according to the principle of “training of trainers”, comprehensive support from authorized representatives of manufacturers for a period of three years and a warranty of 12 months per each delivered aircraft, engine, other equipment and spare parts.
The operational lifetime of Croatia’s current MiG-21 aircraft expires in 2024, which makes it necessary to introduce the multi-role fighter aircraft into operational use as soon as possible. The level of national security will be raised to a level that Croatia has never had before. This will not only be the largest investment in Croatia’s Armed Forces since independence, but also the largest investment in ensuring lasting peace.
The Government launched the process of procuring a multi-role fighter aircraft on 4 July 2019. The United States (for the new F-16 C/D Block 70), Sweden (for the new Gripen C/D), France (for the used Rafale F3-R) and Israel (for the used F-16 C/D Block 30) sent offers. The Inter-Agency Commission thoroughly evaluated the received offers and unanimously adopted the Feasibility Study for the Procurement of a Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft, which was submitted to the Government./ibna