Sergeant First Class Gabrijela Novak, a member of the Multi-purpose Helicopter Squadron of the 91st…
On the eve of the marking of the 23rd anniversary of Operation “Storm“ three multi-role fighter aircraft F-16 landed for the first time in the 91st Air Force Base of the Croatian Air Force at Pleso. The Israeli aircraft were toured by the Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, and the Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov. The Prime Minister praised the joint flypast by the Croatian and Israeli aircraft over Knin within the anniversary marking ceremony. “The Croatian Government has proved the commitment to the Croatian Air Force and to the modernisation of the Croatian Armed Forces. We have decided to procure the F-16 Barak, which I consider an excellent solution for the security and progress of Croatia and its sky, given that Croatia opted to be a strong and credible NATO member and its deternination to be a credible partner in defence and security co-operation“, said Prime Minister.Plenković .
Minister Krstičević welcomed the visit of the members of the Israeli Air Force as an additional proof of true friendship and partnership between the State of Israel and the Republic of Croatia
He stressed that the top moment of the Israeli F-16 is in the joint flypast of the Croatian and Israeli aircraft over Knin. “The historic decision of the Government of Croatia to procure multi-role fighter aircraft F-16 made the dream of the fallen hero of the Croatian Air Force, Rudolf Perešin and other fallen pilots from the Homeland War a reality for today’s generations. The procurement of the F-16 aircraft is a major technological advancement and will significantly upgrade our capabilities”, concluded Minister Krstičević..
The Ambassador of Israel to Croatia, H.E. Zina Kalay Kleitman stressed that the procurement marked the beginning of co-operation and partnership between the State of Israel and the Republic of Croatia. The Ambassador extended appreciation to the Croatian Prime Minister and Defence Minister for initiating and supporting the historic project of co-operation
The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Šundov underlined that Croatia retained the air force capability and thereby ensured the protection of its air space.
“The Croatian Armed Forces began readjusting the organisation and the land infrastructure to succesfully receive the new assets. I am sure that the Croatian Air Force’s officers, NCOs and other personnel are ready for the changes and that they will gladly accept to operate the F-16 Barak.This is a major step forward in the modernisation of the Croatian Armed Forces.
On 3 August 2018 zhe Commander of the Fighter Aircraft Squadron Lieutenant Colonel Christian Jagodić and the Commander of the “Ramat David” Air Base flew a MiG-21 of the Croatian Air Force.
“Following Lt. Col. Željko Ninić’s recent experience with F-16 an Israeli pilot flew aboard a MiG-21, which is a confirmation of our strategic partnership and friendship with the State of Israel. As Defence Minister I am glad that the Croatian pilots will soon have the opportunity to learn from the best – from Israeli military pilots“, said Minister Krstičević..
General Šundov said Croatian pilots again demonstrated high readiness and competence. “I am sure that the joint flypast in the ceremony in Knin will send out a clear message of friendship between Croatia and Israel and a message of peace
The Defence Attaché of Israel to the Republic of Croatia, Colonel Harel Taggar said he was looking forward to the co-operation and new challenges. “We are today opening a new phase of the strategic co-operation between our two countries and their armed forces and air forces. The flypast of F-16 over Zagreb and Knin is a realisation of a great dream . The Croatian Armed Forces made a new progress towards overall development, and development of the Air Force, which will soon have a place among the modern air forces of the west“.
The Commander of the “Ramat David” Air Base expressed the honour to visit the Air Base at Pleso and that the flight to Croatia was an extraordinary experience. “I am glad that we flew to Croatia on our aircraft ; it was a unique experience for the entire team and me too to fly over this beautiful country“. The Commander of the Croatian Air Force, Brigadier General Mato Mikić, said: “This is the first step in the modernisation of the Croatian Air Force with the F-16 aircraft, We accept readily the challenges before us, I believe our Israeli friends will assist us. “ We will do our best to see the first two aircraft flying to mark the 25 anniveraary of “Storm“ in 2020.
General Šundov said Croatian pilots again demonstrated high readiness and competence. “I am sure that the joint flypast in the ceremony in Knin will send out a clear message of friendship between Croatia and Israel and a message of peace. The commander of the “Ramat David” Air Base praised flying the MiG-21 with Lt. Col. Jagodić “Croatia has excellent and very professional pilots and I believe that their experience with MiGs will be useful with flying F-16, which is a western model of fighter aircraft that fulfilled all tasks and purpose in Israel.. It was designed to accodmodate the pilot and his needs; I believe that Croatian pilots will enjoy flying them“.
Lt. Col Jagodić for his part appreciated the visit of the Israeli colleagues and underlined the importance of the visit of the commander of the Ramat David Air Base where the Croatian pilots will take the training; the visit is a good opportunity to realise their quality and professionalism and the excellent performance
The Director of Israeli SIBAT, General Mishel Ben Baruch praised the good military co-operation betveen Croatia and Israel and the competence of Croatian pilots; he also expressed appreciation and the honour of being invited to attend the marking of the 23rd anniversary of the Operation “Storm“ in Knin.