Croatia Intensifying Military Cooperation with USA

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Croatia has received valuable military equipment from the United States.

Military cooperation between Croatia and the United States has been growing more intense, especially since April 2009 when Croatia became a member of NATO. Good military relations have brought Croatia military aid, mainly in the form of donations which Croatia regularly receives from its most important military partner, reports Večernji List on October 30, 2016.

According to the Ministry of Defence, since 2010 Croatia has received weapons, equipment, education and training valued at about 500 million dollars, or 3.5 billion kuna. How important that amount is for Croatia’s military budget can be seen from the fact that Croatia spends on defence an average of 4 billion kuna annually. Croatia is among NATO members which spend the least for the military so US donations allow it to modernize its armed forces.

The defence cooperation with the USA, in addition to weapons, includes education in the United States, strategic transport of Croatian soldiers to Afghanistan, as well as organization of joint training and military exercises. The current financial military aid has been realized through various Security Assistance funds and programmes in accordance with NATO’s objectives, while joint military exercises between Croatian and American soldiers have become a regular feature. Within the framework of this collaboration, almost a thousand members of the Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence have been trained in the United States.

Since 2010, Croatian Army have received as donation 20 new HMMWV vehicles and 214 MRAP vehicles of different versions. In July 2016, Croatia received the first five of the total of 16 attack helicopters OH-58D Kiowa Warrior (the remaining 11 will be delivered the next year). In the latest donation, in September 2016, Croatian Navy received two underwater autonomous vehicles Remus 100. Of all the donations, the most interesting one is attack helicopters. These are nearly new helicopters with equipment for electronic reconnaissance and combat (guided and unguided anti-tank missiles, machine guns).

Croatian Navy has also recently continued with its modernization. Shortly after a successful overhaul of RBS 15 missiles, Croatia received two unmanned underwater submersible vehicles Remus 100, which additionally expanded capabilities of the Navy. It now has at its disposal submersibles which can serve both military and civilian purposes.

Croatian military and political leaderships expect continued cooperation with the United States, which should bring Croatia additional modern military systems. At the top of the wish list are warplanes, but Croatia should not expect that it will get them from the United States, since US does not support the idea that Croatia should maintain its combat aircraft capabilities. It seems more likely that, when it comes to combat aircraft, Croatia will here to find another solution.


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