The US Department of State’s arms export regulators approved the agreement between Croatia and helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky, allowing the acquisition of eight UH-60 Black Hawk multi-role rotorcraft.
The deal includes eight Black Hawk helicopters, with the arrangement specifying that the US will cover the cost of four helicopters, and Croatia will fund the acquisition of the remaining four, resulting in a total of eight helicopters.
The agreement also encompasses an extensive array of weaponry and additional equipment. Additionally, the approval includes provisions for training programs for both flight and technical personnel. This potential agreement, if finalized, is intended to modernize Croatia’s helicopter fleet by replacing the current Mi-8 and Mi-17 transport helicopters in service.
Earlier this year, Croatia donated 14 Mi-8MTV-1 and Mi-8T helicopters to Ukraine, which comprised the entire fleet of these helicopters previously used by the Croatian military. Ten Mi-171Sh helicopters from Russian manufacturers are still in service.
Croatia currently operates four UH-60M helicopters for air transport and eight Bell 206 Jet Ranger II helicopters for training. Additionally, the 15 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters used for combat reconnaissance and anti-armor missions were donated by the United States.
In early 2021, the country made a decision to purchase 12 pre-owned Rafale F3R fighters, built by Dassault Aviation, with an estimated value of around a billion euros. The handover of the first of twelve second-hand procured multi-role Rafale combat aircraft to the Republic of Croatia took place in October last year, during an official ceremony at the French Air Force base in Mont-de-Marsan, France.
According to information from the State Department, the acquisition of new Black Hawks will significantly enhance Croatia’s capabilities to face future threats, strengthen support for coalition forces, and increase interoperability with the United States and NATO forces.