October 4, 2023 – The handover ceremony of the first Rafale multipurpose, the new Croatian fighter jets, was held at the French Air Force base on Monday. Retired pilot Ivan Selak commented on the purchase, pointing out potential issues.
“I’m not euphoric at all and I don’t think that this is the creation of new history. History was created. It is not a historical decision to receive or hand over a plane. So, let’s put the ball on the ground and start thinking about it in a serious way,” Selak stated for N1/writes Index.
He spoke about the logistical and technical segments: “The procurement process was first of all a miss, and then delayed. Acquiring a fighter plane is not easy. I partially participated in the first commission, when the F-16 procurement was to be realized. To be honest, I was only on the first committee, and I expressed a negative opinion, after which I was never invited back.
To be affirmative, this government has made a good decision, this is a top plane. But all fighter planes of the fourth or fourth plus generation are superb. The only thing is, with this kind of investment, we must stay aware of the possibilities and quality. The problem we’re going to have is that we’re not going to use it enough to make it profitable.
Enormous Maintenance Cost For Croatian Fighter Jets
We need to prepare the taxpayers that the maintenance and use of the jets will be enormous. The president was wrong; we will not use it in airspace control but in airspace protection. And that will be very expensive because people, logistics, and procurement are needed.”
He emphasized that the new Croatian fighter jets are not, in fact, new, so they come with a one-year warranty. What exactly does that mean?
“I guess it’s a period where it’s guaranteed that everything will be fine with them, and the French will bear the responsibility if something goes wrong. After that? Problems. And that’s what I’m afraid of. When we made that acquisition, I regret that we did not go the other way. It bothers me that the Frenchman sells, and the Frenchman Zvonimir Frka-Petešić, on the other side, buys.
What I wanted a few years ago, if it had to be France, was to buy the Mirage 2000-5, on which the French are also trained, and then see. It would be much cheaper, and after that, we would determine whether we should go for a fourth plus generation aircraft or not”, Selak is convinced and continues:
“Imagine it this way, a racing team drives a Golf 2 and gets the money to buy an F1 car. Can he do that? Sure he can. But can he drive Formula 1 races? No. Start with F2, F3, and when you see that you can, then move on. That would be the way.”
“It is not clear to me that people from the profession do not understand what infrastructure is. What will that plane be used for? When you have a fighter plane, then treat it like a warplane,” he concluded.