Following a long search for replacements for the old MiG-21 fighters, Croatia announced on Friday the acquisition of 12 Dassault Rafale aircraft currently used by the French Air Force.
The delivery of the first six Rafale F3-R jets will take place in 2024 followed by another six in 2025. According to the Croatian government, the deal amounts to 999 million euros and includes spare parts, weapons systems, training and support.
Of the 12 Rafale aircraft, two will be two-seater and 10 single-seater that will assume the defense role of 12 MiG-21 whose operational lifetime expires in 2024.
“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 be the first time to reach the level of spending of 2% of GDP for strengthening its defense capabilities, which is the goal of all NATO members, ”said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
The Croatian government had launched the process of acquiring a new multifunction fighter in July 2019. In addition to France, the United States (new F-16 C/D Block 70), Israel (used F-16 C/D Block 30) and Sweden (new Gripen C/D) have submitted proposals.
Croatia will be the 5th country to operate Dassault Rafale, which is currently in service in France, Egypt, India and Qatar.