Croatia launches international bid to buy fighter squadron

Croatia launches international bid to buy fighter squadron


ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — NATO-member Croatia said Wednesday it has approached seven other countries to buy a squadron of multi-role fighter jets for its air force .

The Croatian government bid for a dozen used or new aircraft has been sent to the U.S., Sweden, France, Italy, Norway, Greece and Israel.

The wish list includes American, Israeli, Norwegian and Greek F-16s, the Swedish Saab JAS Gripen, the French Rafale and Italy’s Eurofighter jets.

Last year Croatia opted for 12 used Israeli F-16 fighter jets, but the $500 million deal fell through.

W ashington had insisted on Israel stripping off upgrades that were added after Israel took delivery of the aircraft from the U.S. some 30 years ago.

The sophisticated electronics and radar systems were crucial in Croatia’s decision to buy the F-16s from Israel instead of from the U.S. or Greece, which had also bid for the contract.

Croatia’s government said it expects to receive the new offers by May and make the decision by August.

Croatia faces a mini arms race with neighboring Russian ally Serbia, which recently received 10 used Russian MiG-29 fighter jets.

Croatia joined NATO in 2009 and the European Union in 2013.

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