France proposes 12 second-hand Rafale fighters to Croatia

Croatia wants to replace its MiG-21Bis/UM. On October 14, the Chief of Staff of the French Armies, General François Lecointre, confirmed that an offer to sell 12 Rafales currently in service with the Air and Space Force had been submitted to Croatia last September. However, in the meantime, Greece has known its intention to procure 18 Rafale, including 12 second hand ones, Laurent Lagneau reports on Zone Militaire / Opex 360.

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France proposes 12 second hand AMD Rafale fighters to Croatia AMD Rafale of the French Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace (air and space force) (Picture source: Dassault Aviation)

"I do not have the details, at this stage, from which squadrons these planes will be taken", said General François Lecointre, referring to the Greek contract [which remains to be signed]. “We must not also neglect the fact that we are going to temporarily deprive ourselves of air assets which are engaged in operations and permanently in air protection. They are therefore absolutely essential", added General Lecointre, for whom the sale of Rafale to Greece is a great success which will be extremely interesting in terms of interoperability.

Also, and as indicated by the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, it will be necessary to replace the 12 Rafales taken from the fleet of the Air & Space Army (Armée de ‘Air et de l’Espace) in order to meet the objectives set by the Law of military programming [LPM] 2019-2025. Hence the order, by the end of this year, of as many new planes from Dassault Aviation.

If Croatia chooses to purchase 12 second-hand Rafales, the situation may become more complicated for the French air force. As a reminder, Croatia is also interested in an alternative, namely the purchase of new F-16 Viper or JAS-39 Gripen C / D fighters. Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banožić has indicated that the selection of the aircraft for the tender will be announced on 12 December.