Croatia’s Defense of Ministry has decided to finalize a deal related to the Croatian air force by buying new Black Hawk helicopters from the US. This move made public by Croatia's Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic comes after the country’s decision to buy 12 used Israeli fighter jet F16 and 16 Kiowa OH-58D helicopters.
According to the source, the plan is to receive a squadron of new transport helicopters by 2025 when resources of the current Mi-8 helicopters expire. By that, the government aims to switch to aviation technology produced by western countries in the coming few years. The acquisition of the helicopters has been rumored since 2014, with an American goal of making Croatia less dependent on Russia.
Croatia defense ministry was invited to send a request to the United States for a donation of 12 UH-60 model A helicopters, as part of the Excess Defense Articles partner program. Through this program, the US military donates or sells its defense surpluses to partner countries.
The Black Hawk helicopters have been developed for the U.S Army, but they are also used by other nations, including Japan, Australia, South Korea and Columbia.
Earlier in March, news circulated on Croatia accepting Israel's offer to supply a dozen F-16 fighter jets for its air force, the government had made public.
Croatia asked five countries last year to bid for contracts to supply it with fighter jets: Sweden, Israel, the United States, Greece and South Korea. The Israeli regime’s offer, which according to the media reports is worth some $500 million, includes a squadron of 12 already used F-16s. Sources said that Israel gets to unload some of its older fighters and gets lucrative contracts to support them in the future. The $500M can then be spent on other priorities, including new airframes.