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Croatia finalizes Rafale deal with France

Croatia Rafale contract
Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic and French president Emmanuel Macron at the contract signing ceremony in Zagreb. Photo: Croatian government

The governments of Croatia and France have finalized contracts for Croatia’s purchase of Dassault Rafale fighter jets.

At a ceremony attended by the French president Emmanuel Macron and Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenković on November 25 in Zagreb, the two sides signed contracts for the acquisition of 12 second-hand Rafale fighters, which will be transferred from the French Air Force.

A separate logistics support contract covers all support resources, including additional spare parts for these aircraft, over a three-year period.

On the occasion of the signing of the contracts, two French Rafales flew over Croatian capital Zagreb.

Croatia first revealed its decision to acquire the French aircraft in May this year, as a successor for the ageing MIG-21 fighters.

Croatian defense minister Mario Banožić said the purchase would also include a simulator, as well as test equipment and spare parts.

Croatia is expected to take delivery of the first eight Rafales by 2024, with the remaining four arriving in 2025.

Buying Rafale fighter aircraft is a “game changer” for Croatia, the country’s prime minister said, noting that in addition to obtaining a powerful deterrent tool, Croatia could now play a significant role in securing the safety of South-East Europe.

“I am delighted, on behalf of Dassault Aviation and its partners, to be entering into a relationship of trust with Croatia, a European country, and to be writing a new page for the Rafale, which I am certain will give the Croatian Air Force complete satisfaction, while actively contributing to the exercise of Croatia’s national sovereignty,” said Eric Trappier, CEO of Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation, after the signing ceremony.

Dassault Aviation file photo

Originally developed for both the French Air Force and the Navy, the Rafale is a multi-role fighter capable of performing mission ranging missions from air-defense/air-superiority, reconnaissance, close air support, to anti-ship attacks, and nuclear deterrence.

In addition to Croatia and France, the Rafale is, or will be, operated by the armed forces of Egypt, Qatar, Greece, and India.