Croatia to Establish Airborne Special Forces with US Assistance

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In cooperation with the United States, four European continues will establish airborne special forces.

Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Bulgaria have embarked on the establishment of joint special forces which, in the future, could jointly participate, for example, in fight against terrorist threats in the Mediterranean and North Africa, reports Jutarnji List on November 29, 2016.

This is one of the objectives which has Croatia decided to undertake as a NATO member. However, after analyzing different models of providing necessary training and possible international support from NATO and bilateral partners, it was concluded that Croatia cannot go it alone in this project. That was the reason why in 2015 the defence ministers of the four countries signed a letter of intent on cooperation in this field. These forces will be trained and equipped to infiltrate enemy territory, fight against terrorism, and evacuate friendly forces from hostile territory. At this time, the Croatian Army in its structure does not have airborne special force. There is just the Special Forces Command, which includes units intended for operations of special reconnaissance and combat missions.

The agreement on establishment of joint airborne special forces was signed in Split at the end of September by military commanders of the four countries. According to sources from Croatian Defence Ministry, the whole project is being undertaken under the auspices of NATO’s Special Operations Command and the United States of America.

Highlighting the role of the United States is no coincidence. Sources claim that the United States have long been working on establishing a military base in Croatia where training of airborne special forces would take place, and from where NATO special forces could launch missions in the Mediterranean and north Africa. Possible training bases in Croatia are airports at Zadar and Udbina. At Udbina, the US airborne special forces have been training for years and they know the location very well. US special forces have also already used the Zadar airport for some of their operations.

Defence Ministry confirmed that it had launched the process of establishing multinational airborne special forces, although the project is still in an initial phase. The Ministry noted that “potential areas of cooperation include joint training, as well as equipping, modernization and establishment of integrated multinational troops. Therefore, all states have the task to develop same abilities and will accordingly seek rational solutions and help from allies which have already implemented the goal”. Sources believe that the recent donation of American Kiowa helicopters is part of the US programme of equipping future Croatian airborne special forces.


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