In addition to new fighter jets, the Croatian Army should get new helicopters for special forces.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said on Friday that the government was in discussions about the acquisition of two Black Hawk helicopters from the United States for special forces. He also said that the decision on selection of new fighter jets was expected to be made by the end of November, reports Jutarnji List on October 27, 2017.
“We are talking with the United States, our key partner and defence ally, about two Black Hawk helicopters for our special forces,” Krstičević said at a press conference which marked his first anniversary as the minister, where he presented the projects of the Defence Ministry and the Armed Forces. He stressed that Croatia, as a member of NATO, was aiming to turn towards Western technology, adding that the government had to take into account Croatia’s wishes, capabilities and finances.
Talking about the Croatian Air Force, he emphasised that it had enough resources and was carrying out all the tasks and activities on a daily basis. He added that MiGs underwent two modernisation overhauls which ensured they could still be used. “I pray to God every day that nothing happens to our pilots,” he said, adding that the government had made an enormous step forward and that by 30 November the expert working group should make a long-term, sustainable and affordable decision on the acquisition of new fighter aircraft.
Krstičević also said that the acquisition of new aircraft was a chance for technological development of the country, a possibility for the opening of new jobs and an opportunity for Croatian companies. “This is a job not only for this government, but for future governments as well, so we have to approach this issue responsibly and professionally,” he pointed out.
Presenting the results of his first year as the minister, Krstičević pointed out that the government, after six years of continuous reduction of defence spending, this year allocated 348 million kunas more than the previous year, with a further increase expected next year. Also, after 15 years and two unsuccessful attempts, the new National Security Strategy was adopted, and the process of establishing and developing the homeland security system has been started.
Krstičević also said that the Defence Ministry would continue to provide all possible support to the development of the Croatian defence industry, since “there is no strong army without a strong defence industry.” The acquisition of the new multi-purpose fighter aircraft was highlighted as the most important project of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces because, as he said, the state and the military would not be the same without that capability.
Translated from Jutarnji List.