ZAGREB, July 13, 2018 – Defence Minister Damir Krstičević on Friday announced the procurement of several US helicopters for the Croatian Armed Forces, after the US donated to Croatia a squadron of Kiowa Warrior helicopters last year.
Krstičević discussed this issue in Zagreb on Friday with US Defence Secretary James Mattis, who said the United States would help modernise the Croatian Army.
The Croatian minister said helicopters were a priority in the process of upgrading the Armed Forces after Zagreb earlier this year decided to purchase multi-purpose fighter jets F16 from Israel.
“Last year we received a donation from the United States, a squadron of Kiowa Warriors helicopters. We are working to continue this project,” the minister said. “The Croatian public will be informed,” Krstičević added without revealing other details.
The United Stated donated to Croatia 16 Kiowa choppers and equipment produced between 2012 and 2015. The first five choppers arrived in the Zemunik air base on 30 July 2016.
The Croatian government in March unanimously adopted a decision on the procurement of 12 Israeli F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets that will cost Croatia 2.9 billion kuna over a ten year period, and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said this was one of the biggest decision made in the defence sector after the 1990s Homeland War.
Mattis arrived in Zagreb to attend the Special US-Adriatic Charter Defence Ministerial Meeting. The U.S.-Adriatic Charter is an association formed by Albania, Croatia, Macedonia and the United States for the purpose of aiding their attempts to join NATO. The Charter was signed on 2 May 2003 in Tirana. In 2008, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro joined the association. Croatia and Albania were admitted to NATO in 2009.
The Zagreb meeting of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter is aimed at stepping up the accession of the Southeast European countries that have still not joined NATO. Observers in the U.S.-Adriatic Charter are Slovenia, Kosovo and Serbia, whose Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin did not arrive in Zagreb as he has been declared persona non grata in Croatia.