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Croatia cancels fighter aircraft procurement due to COVID-19

Croatian Air Force MIG-21
Croatian Air Force file photo of a MIG-21 aircraft

The Croatian defense ministry has put the acquisition of a new fighter jet for its air force on hold, as the country focuses on battling the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The fighter jet procurement was postponed after the country issued a renewed request for proposals in January this year.

The second RFP was announced after the country’s initial plan to buy used Israeli F-16 Barak failed to materialize in 2019.

Croatia had initially expected to pick a new jet by August this year. The potential choices included new F-16 fighters from the US and Gripen aircraft from Sweden’s Saab. Also requested were used F-16 aircraft from Greece, Israel, and Norway, the Eurofighter from Italy, and Rafale from France.

The defense ministry has also canceled the CROIMAS 2020 air meeting, which was expected to become Croatia’s inaugural international air show. The Croatian International Military Airshow was set to take place in Zadar, on May 30. It will now be postponed for 12 months.

“After considering the current circumstances, we have decided to put the acquisition process on hold,” Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic said on April 2.

“This is the only logical and correct decision and we will inform the participating countries about our decision with amended dates.”

The country’s defense minister Damir Krsticevic said that the fighter jet procurement would be once again discussed after the pandemic is over.