An order worth one billion euros. Croatia announced on Friday that it had chosen 12 French used Rafale fighter jets to modernize its armed forces. These planes (2 two-seaters and 10 single-seaters), on average ten years old, will be taken from the Air Force fleet. Planes armed with MICA air-to-air missiles, AASM bombs and a 30mm cannon with its ammunition. In addition, France is also committed to providing training and training to Croatian pilots. In total, this global contract is valued at around 999 million euros.
The government “considered that France’s offer was the best and decided (to buy) 12 Rafale multirole fighter jets,” Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said, adding that the chosen plane “is considered to be the ‘one of the best in the world’. He added: “This is the biggest investment in Croatian armaments. We are increasing our combat power capacity of the Croatian army in the next 30 to 40 years, which is the greatest guarantee of peace. “
This decision is a little unexpected. The French aircraft competed with new American F-16s, second-hand Israeli F-16s and new Swedish Gripens.
France had submitted on November 10 an offer of Rafale compatible both for the missions of NATO and the European Union ”. “A project which would be structuring for the cooperation between our two countries, and for a stronger Europe of defense”, then explained on Twitter Florence Parly the Minister of the Armed Forces during her visit to Croatia. But above all, the French commercial offer was competitive. The big favorite American proposal was in the order of 1.6 billion euros even if the F-16s in contention were new.
As soon as the announcement was made, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, welcomed the “strengthening of strategic links between France and Croatia”. The objective is to sign a contract before the end of the year in order to be able to deliver the first six Rafale at the end of 2023 then the last at the beginning of 2025. The former Russian MiGs of the Croatian Air Force will then be able to be scrapped.
This contract is the fourth for the Rafale in 2021. After a blank year in 2020, Dassault Aviation had already secured three new firm orders from Rafale for a total of 48 new aircraft (6 new and twelve used for Greece, 12 for the French army and 30 for Egypt). Which already made 2021 the second best year in combat aircraft history, in terms of order intake.
And the harvest may not be over. Indonesia would be close to ordering. All that would be missing is a presidential decree to validate the budget. Florence Parly had mentioned in December an order for 36 Rafale by Djakarta. Eric Trapier, CEO of Dassault, was more vague with a range of 24 to 40 devices.