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 Banožic together with the head of the Office of the Prime Minister Zvonimir Frka-Petešic. Croatia will have a historic day that marks, first of all, the mandate of the Government led by Andrej Plenkovic 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 Banožic.
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.
Croatia received a proposal for 12 used Rafales F3Rs in September 2020 as part of a bid to replace the Croatian Air Force’s MiG-21s. The total package offered costs €1 billion (including weapon systems, spare parts, logistics and training). On 28 May 2021, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced the purchase of 12 used Rafale F3Rs. Croatia has signed for the acquisition of 12 secondhand Dassault Rafale fighters from France, following approval for the purchase earlier this week. Two contracts were finalised during a ceremony in Zagreb on 25 November 2021, one for the aircraft and the other covering logistics and support over a three-year period. The country’s government on 24 November approved the budget allocation for the purchase over the 2022-2024 period.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault. Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Egyptian Air Force, the Indian Air Force, the Qatar Air Force, the Hellenic Air Force, the Croatian Air Force, the Indonesian Air Force and the United Arab Emirates Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria.