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Croatia selects ex-IAF F-16 fighter jets for MiG-21 replacement

Croatia's Defense Council on Tuesday accepted an Israeli offer for the purchase of upgraded used F-16 combat aircraft that will replace its aging MiG-21 fighter jets.

Croatia selects ex IAF F 16 fighter jets for MiG 21 replacement 001 IAF F-16C Barak fighter jet
(Credit: IAF)

The Croatian government announced the decision in a statement on Tuesday night, after a lengthy meeting with a team of experts of the Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces General Staff.

Last year, Croatia received four bids for the new fighter jets: American F-16 Bloc 70/72 from Lockheed Martin, Greek F-16 Block 30, Israeli second-hand F-16 Barak and Swedish new models JAS 39 Gripen.

The value of the deal of 12 used F-16 C/D Barak is estimated at over three billion kuna (420 million U.S. dollars), paid in ten annual installments.

According to defense experts, it may well be that the F-16 fighter aircraft being offered by Israel have been upgraded with cutting-edge technological systems, with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) being the upgrade contractor.

The Israeli F-16s can also be equipped with advanced Israeli weapon systems including the Python air-to-air missile produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

After the Council's recommendation, the Croatian government must make an official decision and sign a contract with the bidder. Under the plan, the first fighters are to be delivered to the Croatian Air Force by late 2020.