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  • April 2018
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Croatia Buys F-16 Barak

Posted by picard578 on April 6, 2018

Adapted from Hrvatski Vojnik, 30.3.2018. I hope I didn’t screw up translation too much.
In a session of 29.3.2018., Croatian Government had made a decision about replacement of antique MiG-21 fighters with new multirole aircraft. Aircraft chosen is Israeli F-16C/D Block 30 Barak.
Croatian Air Force played important role in Homeland War. It used MiG-21 fighters for air superiority and precision strikes against enemy C4ISR elements, while Mi-24 helicopters provided close air support and troop transport. In current conditions, main focus of Croatian Air Force is air policing, maintaining Croatian sovereignity in the air. But current MiG-21 fighter jets are old, worn out and technologically limited. They will have to be withdrawn from use by 2024. at the latest, unless we are to hang them from helium baloons to keep them in the air – only four are flight-capable right now. Yet Croatian politicians delayed the decision about procurement of new fighter jet for full 15 years, until 2017.
On 20.5.2017., Croatian Ministry of Defense sent a Request for Proposal to five coutries: Greece (F-16), Israel (F-16), South Korea (FA-50), Sweden (JAS-39) and United States (F-16). RfP defined total package for 100 hours of flight per year per aircraft: 12 aircraft (of which 10 single-seaters and 2 two–seaters), flight simulator, personnel training, initial weapons package, spare parts, technical support, support/maintenance tools, adaptation of infrastructure and parts transport. Response deadline was 75 days, and by 3.10.2017., responses were received from Greece, Israel, Sweden and United States. South Korea did not respond due to aircraft’s inability to fulfill requirements.
Main parameters for selection were aircraft capabilities and characteristics, state agreement, price and cooperation package. By November 30, received offers had been evaluated and validated. On December 14., Croatian Parliament gave a green light for procurement of new fighter aircraft. On a Council for Defense session of 27.3.2018. opinion of expert team was accepted that offer from Israel is most favourable, and on 29.3.2018. the Government of Republic of Croatia made a decision on procurement of multirole fighter aircraft. Accepted offer was one of Israel for F-16C/D Block 30 Barak.
Compared to basic F-16C/D models, Barak has improved avionics, self-defense systems, radar and advanced Israeli weapons such as Python 4 and 5 Air-to-Air missiles. It has wide assortment of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, including IR and RF missiles for air-to-air as well as unguided, GPS and laser guided bombs, unguided, laser and TV guided rockets and cruise missiles. Payment will start in 2020., when first aircraft will arrive. However, United States have placed restrictions on some of the equipment of F-16 Barak, so aircraft received will be substandard for the type. Before arrival, fighters will undergo life extension programme, giving them additional 3.000 hours per airframe.

8 Responses to “Croatia Buys F-16 Barak”

  1. Benjamin Sisko said

    Well, I guess if you are going to be a part of NATO, you should contribute some sort of credible air power. Especially in the tough Balkans neighborhood and with Russia once again looming. Too many NATO nations relying on big NATO powers instead of maintaining own credible defenses. Israeli F-16’s are very credible but only 12? And, these are already old airframes.

    Croatia I believed would pony up and get a squadron or two of new Gripen. They probably still should do so, and soon.

    Croatia is an ally to US. The issues probably is that Israel placed the bid against the US own bid. And, using equipment US sold to Israel. Its legal bid but, US might want to dissuade future competition by putting barriers on technology transfer.

    I’m just guessing.


    • Picard578 said

      We don’t really have enough money for more than that, and politicians may well decide against it. I do agree we need our own air force, though, and yes Gripen would likely be better seeing how Hungary has it, plus it would be newer airframe.


      • Benjamin Sisko said

        If there is no money than I guess there is no money.

        I would not support big expenditures on defense for most countries but, there are a few countries that really do need more credible defenses. And, Croatia is one of those.

        From my American perspective, I think too many nations join NATO and then think they don’t have to provide for their own defense because NATO has their back. As an American (I would feel same way if I were British or French) I don’t like having to foot the bill for a huge armed force (im not saying NATO duties are only reason US spends so much on armed forces there are other factors) so that Europe can feel safe.

        What would countries like Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia (just to name a few) do if they did not have NATO?

        Im sure each would be much more willing to find the funds to maintain a more credible defense if NATO were not there. Putin’s Russia is looking to rebuild/reclaim whatever they can from old empire. But, they are smart enough to choose easy targets only. If not for NATO. Most of those countries mentioned above would be facing what Ukraine is. Or much worse.

        You can say Georgia has survived without NATO. But, Georgia lost a lot of territory and only survives because US (and allies) agreed to not expand NATO into Caucasus if Russia backed off.

        Georgia could fall at any moment of weakness if Putin believes at any time that US is too busy with other issues and would not intervene.

        In case of Croatia its not just Russia but a resurgent Serbia could some day soon prove to be a problem.

        Also, by maintaining credible defense smaller NATO nations would have a greater voice and be able to avoid some unwanted pressures from even NATO powers themselves.

        But, if that is all the money you have. Than, 12 F-16 Barak’s is better than 12 barely airworthy Mig-21’s.


        • Picard578 said

          I have to say that I agree with basically everything you wrote. NATO is a mixed blessing, Europe’s defences have atrophied because we are relying too much on NATO. And the reason we don’t have money is:
          a) economy is screwed up
          b) military has been underfunded for a LONG time

          We have cut down too much on military spending, and now everything we should have done a long time ago is catching up to us all at once.


    • Pranavkumar Pradipkumar Pathak said

      How come indian iaf updated mig 21 just shot down pakistans paf f16 yesterday? Is it possible?


      • Picard578 said

        Of course it is. MiG-21 is not bad aircraft, problem for Croatian MiGs is age, but even if it probably is inferior to F-16 in many ways, there are many more factors in air combat than just aircraft: training, weapons, tactics, luck, skill, weather, ground support, luck…


      • Benjamin Sisko said

        I dont have time to research circumstances under which these shootdowns took place. But like Picard said, it could be many situational factors. Factors like training and experience outweigh quality of aircraft. I believe.

        In combat, with all other factors being equal a base mig-21 would lose more than it wins against base F-16.


  2. Reblogged this on josephhokayem.


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