In a historic ceremony at the French Air Force base of Mont-de-Marsan on October 2, Croatia received its first Rafale multi-purpose fighter jet following the transfer of ownership between the Republic of France and the Republic of Croatia.
The ceremony was attended by Minister of Defense Mario Banožić together with the head of the Office of the Prime Minister Zvonimir Frka-Petešić. “We will have a historic day that marks, first of all, the mandate of the Government led by Andrej Plenković when it comes to the defense department – it is the legal takeover of the first Rafale, which will ultimately be here in Croatia together with the other five at the beginning of the second quarter of 2024” remarked Mr Banožić.
Commander of the Croatian Air Force, Brigadier General Michael Križanec stated “These will be the fourth + generation aircraft that position us as credible NATO partners, a European member, in a position that we had until now in other branches this new position of ours will bring us new tasks, but also certain new values in that society, which we will further try to develop with our allies and partners through further modernisation and equipping of all three branches.”
This is the first of 12 Rafale twin-engine aircraft for the Croatian Air Force from the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation, the Rafale is equipped with advanced attack-navigation systems, a new generation electronic radar with high integration of sensors and self-protection systems, as well as the ability to use a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons.
In addition, to the 4 + generation aircraft, Croatia has a flight simulator providing a complete range of training along with validation of tactics. This marks a significant milestone in the commitment shown by the Government of the Republic of Croatia to modernise its Armed Forces, ensuring Croatia can protect its own Airspace. Developing defense capabilities will not only contribute to the security and defense of its own country, but also to the NATO Alliance.
(Story by NATO Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office)