Unlike some other ministries, the Defence Ministry’s budget grows substantially.
The Patria 8×8 armoured vehicle of the Croatian Army is on its way to cease being “the most expensive military truck in the world,” as some call it. The Army was for years trying to buy weapons for more than 120 armoured vehicles so that they would cease to be just expensive armoured transport vehicles, reports Večernji List on August 21, 2017.
While it is true that some Patrias have been armed with a 12.7-mm battle station produced in Norway by Konsberg, with a night vision camera, a laser rangefinder and target marker, they have not yet been armed with more serious weaponry. By the end of this month or in early-September, the Defence Ministry will sign a contract for the procurement of eight remote-controlled 30-mm armoured battle stations with an anti-armour rocket missile system.
The tender lasted for two years, and the winning bid was submitted by Elbit Systems from Israel, with its battle stations and an anti-armour missile system manufactured by the Israeli company Rafael.
Rafael is one of the world’s leading rocket system manufacturers, whose Spike-type rockets are rated as probably the best in the world. The version supplied to Croatia, Spike-LR, is a long-range projectile that can destroy 700 mm thick armour at a distance of 4,000 meters. This is part of the Croatian-Israeli military cooperation, launched during Croatia’s Defence Minister Krstičević’s visit to Israeli earlier this year. It is expected that Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman will soon arrive in Zagreb as well.
The eight battle stations will cost 93,616,485 kunas with VAT, which was the winning bid submitted by Elbit. There were two other bidders, with Rafael’s offer being second with 106.13 million kunas and Đuro Đaković’s third with 211.45 million kunas.
The fact that the Croatian bidder Đuro Đaković was more than twice as expensive was disappointing. It is unfortunate that this Croatian company, which produced Patria in Slavonski Brod and developed a 30 mm battle station with its Norwegian partner Konsberg, will not complete the work on Patrias. Another problem, apart from the price, was that Đuro Đaković offered in its bid American missile system Javelin, which has a shorter range (2,500 m).
Battle stations will be delivered successively by the end of 2018, but the army hopes that several Patrias will be equipped and fully armed by the beginning of 2018 when Croatian units will leave for NATO mission in Lithuania. Training will be conducted by Israeli instructors, who will train Croatian instructors who will then teach the rest of combat crews.
Translated from Večernji List.