The 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence interview…
The Croatian Government has reinitiated the procurement of multirole combat aircraft following a detailed analysis of the previous process, favourable opinions of and support from the Defence Council and the Croatian Parliament’s Defence Committee as well as a decision by the Croatian Government to launch the largest procurement for the Croatian Armed Forces to date. At a session on 28th June 2019 in Banski dvori, the government’s seat in Zagreb, the Defence Council determined that Croatia ought to preserve the capability of protecting its airspace with its own combat aircraft. In its conclusions, the Defence Council suggests that the government establish an inter-ministerial committee that would conduct the activities related to the procurement of multirole combat aircraft.
Following the Defence Council’s session, the Croatian Parliament’s Defence Committee convened on 3rd July, unanimously endorsed the conclusions by the Defence Council and gave a favourable opinion for reinitiating the procurement of multirole combat aircraft. Also, the Defence Committee gave their support to the Croatian Government for the establishment of the inter-ministerial committee in which the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee would sit alongside representatives of other competent authorities.
At a session on 4th July, the Croatian Government endorsed the conclusions by the Defence Council (28th June 2019) and the Defence Committee of the Croatian Parliament (3rd July 2019), which determine that Croatia ought to preserve the capability of protecting its airspace with its own combat aircraft and initiate the procurement of multirole combat aircraft, bearing in mind the required capabilities and the Republic of Croatia’s available financial resources. Also, the Decision promulgating the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee for the procurement of multirole combat aircraft was adopted.
A novelty in the procurement process is the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee which will prepare and conduct the process of procuring multirole combat aircraft. Senior representatives of state authorities will sit on the committee and for the first time, the Croatian Parliament’s Defence Committee will be a part of the team in charge of procuring multirole combat aircraft.
Another novelty is that along with seeking the best option for procuring multirole combat aircraft, the inter-ministerial committee will also look into options for the training of pilots on multirole combat aircraft and suggest reaching relevant decisions regarding that matter to the Government and other competent authorities.
The inter-ministerial committee is chaired by two co-chairmen: the Head of the Prime Minister’s Office Zvonimir Frka-Petešić and the Director of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Vice-Admiral Robert Hranj. Other committee members are: Adviser to the President of the Republic of Croatia for Defence and National Security Zrinko Petener; the Chairman of the Croatian Parliament’s Defence Committee Igor Dragovan; the Deputy Chairman of the Croatian Parliament’s Defence Committee Anđelko Stričak; the Director of the Security and Intelligence Agency Daniel Markić; the Head of the Office of the National Security Council Maja Čavlović; the Director of the Military Security and Intelligence Agency Brigadier General Ivica Kinder; Special Adviser to Croatian Prime Minister Robert Kopal; the Deputy Secretary General of the Republic of Croatia Ivona Ferenčić; the Assistant Minister of Finance and Chief State Treasure Ivana Jakir-Bajo; the Assistant Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vice Skračić; the Assistant Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Zvonimir Novak; the Commander of the Croatian Air Force Brigadier General Mato Mikić; the Head of the Independent Service for Project Management at the Ministry of Defence Colonel Davor Tretinjak; and Colonel Željko Ninić of the Independent Service for Project Management at the Ministry of Defence.
In his opening address, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković underlined that a new leaf was being turned over with the re-initiation of the procurement of multirole combat aircraft and that the Government would set up an inter-ministerial committee which would adequately, transparently and inclusively oversee the procurement, a process of strategic importance for the Croatian Air Force and the Croatian Armed Forces as a whole.
In his presentation at the government’s session, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević expressed his satisfaction over the re-initiation. He emphasized that the procurement of multirole combat aircraft was a project of high financial value and strategic importance for the whole country. Therefore, its realization had to be lawful, transparent and supported by all institutions in the Republic of Croatia. Seeing as how the procurement of multirole combat aircraft is a long-term strategic decision, Minister Krstičević underlined that only serious tenders and genuine support would be taken into consideration in that complex military and political process.
“Croatia and its armed forces are not the same with and without a supersonic combat component in the Croatian Air Force. Therefore, I stress that Croatia and its armed forces are stronger with combat aviation,” Minister Krstičević concluded.
Text by IRENA FIRŠT
Photo by CROATIAN GOVERNMENT
Translation by IVA GUGO