This is Minister Banožić’s first official visit to the United States since stepping into office.
Banožić and Hranj visited the Sikorsky helicopter factory in Connecticut on Monday where they met with the company’s executives and president Paul Lemmo.
The company is a subsidiary of the Lockhead Martin company which also producers UH-60 Black Hawk and SH-60 Seahawk helicopters.
The Defence Ministry (MORH) points out the importance of military and technological cooperation with the USA which includes donations and the procurement of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the armed forces. During the meeting, Minister Banožić said that a US donation in 2019 was an important support to Croatia’s national policy aimed at transitioning to equipment originating in the West.
“After that donation, we decided to procure two more Black Hawk helicopters and have allocated $85 million for that purpose. Our ambition is to continue developing this investment because, being a reliable and credible member of the NATO alliance, the transition to Western technology is the only possible and correct path,” Banožić said. He expressed his satisfaction that at the moment Croatia’s military pilots and aviation technicians are attending various training courses in the US, specialising in particular on the Black Hawk helicopter.
“We also have two pilots gaining additional flying hours in Minnesota in cooperation and assistance of the Minnesota National Guard. This is important for us, not only in the context of buying equipment but in the context of security because we will obtain the necessary support in training,” added Banožić.
Black Hawk helicopters can be used to support civilian institutions – in fighting wildfires, search and rescue missions, and emergency medical transport.
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