In view of a large interest and responsibility towards the public, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Croatia held a press conference to present the information related to the process of procurement of the multirole combat aircraft. closing a year-long period of systematic work.
The conference was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia,General Mirko Šundov, Special Advisor to the Minister Božo Kožul, the Director of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Rear admiral Robert Hranj and the Commander of Croatian Air Force and Air Defence, Brigadier General Mato Mikić and the Head of the MoD’s Expert Team, Colonel Davor Tretinjak.
“We are presenting to the Croatian public openly and transparently, as pledged, the overall process of procurement of the multirole fighter aircraft, the bids and the parameters based on which the Expert Team selected the proposal from the State of Israel“, said Minister Krstičević was in the introductory statement.
Recalling the birth of the state of Croatia and the establishment of the Croatian National Guard in the 1990ies, the Minister stressed that the Croatian Air Force had a decisive role during the Homeland War.
“This is a historic moment for the Croatian Army and the Croatian Air Force; we are doing this for future generation, for a safe and sovereign Croatia,” said Minister Krstičević, adding: “We are doing this for future generations, so that the Republic of Croatia is safe, sovereign and ready to respond to any threat, risk or challenge.”
Minister Krstičević recalled all steps preceding the adoption of the final Decision on the Procurement of a Multirole Fighter Aircraft and stressed that it had been delayed for 15 years, and that it was a project of several ministers and governments; he also underlined the engagement of the representatives of the Office of the President of the Republic, of the Prime Minister and of the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia.
The Chief of the General Staff, General Mirko Šundov appreciated Minister Krstičević for initiating the procurement of the aircraft as crucial to maintain the air force capability. General Šundov stated it was a political responsibility and extended appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Office of the President of the Republic and the Croatian Parliament. “From my 28- year experience in the Croatian Armed Forces I can say that the procurement of the combat aircraft has been one of the best managed projects and processes in the Ministry of Defence and in the Armed Forces“.
The presentation on the procurement process was delivered by the Head of the Expert Team, Colonel Davor Tretinjak, who outlined the details of the process preceding the final recommendation to accept the proposal from the State of Israel.
Col. Tretinjak reminded that the Request for Proposals were addressed to the embassies of Greece, Israel, South Korea, the United States and Sweden and that South Korea renounced the proposal. , dropped out of the bidding because it was not able to meet all the established tactical-technical requirements. Other countries submitted their bids within the defined deadline, and presentations were submitted and written and electronic documentation was submitted to the Ministry of Defense.
According to the defined timeline , on 30 November 2017 the evaluation of the four received proposals by the Expert Team was concluded and the Feasibility Study was prepared, to serve as the basis for the state-level decision.
Brigadier Tretinjak stressed that the Request for Proposal contained the quantitative and qualitative requirements based on the tactical and technical study and included a “Total Package” (for 100 hours of flying hours per aircraft annually/ 1,200 hours a year in total) for the delivery of 12 aircraft (10 single-seat and two 2- seat aircraft), flight simulator, personnel training, an initial weapons package, spare parts, technical support services, tools and equipment for flying support, the infrastructure adaptation and transportation of parts and equipment according to the agreed timeline. The Israeli proposal was assessed the most comprehensive and acceptable,sed on the overall evaluations of the scored. Based on the overal proposal ratings and based on the previously determined domain-subdomain ratio, the proposal from the State of Israel’s proposal has been accepted as the most comprehensive and acceptable.
Brigadier Tretinjak pointed out that Israel’s proposal entailed strategic co-operation through the Government to Government Long-term Strategic Partnership Agreement. The offered F-16 C / D Block 30 Barak aircraft although used, are NATO- compatible and modernised aircraft ensuring the performance of all defensive and offensive air operations.
The Israeli offer entails delivery of 12 aircraft (ten single-seat and two 2-seat) with NATO- compatible equipment and advanced avionics, the individual pilot equipment, F-16 flight simulator, the “train-the-trainers“ training of pilots and technical staff in Israel, an initial package of spare parts, a package of ground support equipment, an initial weapons package, infrastructure construction and adaptation and three years of overall logistic support, including the assistance of the Israeli instructors with the maintenance and personnel training, and transportation of parts and equipment according to the agreed schedule. The proposed concept of support and airworthiness of the F-16 entails the logistic support in the Republic of Croatia and the engineer support in Israel. The proposed aircraft have undergone a series of upgrades and system and structure modernisation, ensuring high technological level. They will be delivered with the resource of 3,000 flying hours, which is sufficient for the next 25 years, according to the expert projections of the Croatian Air Force.
After the Defence Commitee of the Croatian Parliament unanimously endorsed the project of equioment of the Croatian Armed Forces with the multirole fighter aircraft, the Defence Council accepted the opinion and recommendations of the Expert Team on the Israeli proposal as the most acceptable for Croatia and issued the recommendation to the Croatian Government to initiate a Decision on the Procurement of Multirole Fighter Aircraft, which was adopted at the session of 29 March 2018.