|Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons. Leonardo is participating in the Croatian tender to supply Typhoon to Croatian Air Force.|
Croatia is currently looking at second-hand aircraft to replace the old MiG-21 fleet of the Croatian Air Force. At the beginning of the year the Croatian government was close to signing a deal with Israel to buy 12 F-16 Block 40 combat aircraft when the United States blocked the sale. Washington has imposed on Israel to eliminate non-base system upgrades on aircraft, but Croatia considered these features to be a decisive clause in the agreement.
Zagreb must now start looking at the market to identify new options and could take advantage of the Eurofighter Tranche 1 surplus from the Italian Air Force. The Italian aircraft have already been proposed by Leonardo to Bulgaria, but the Bulgarian MoD is strongly intent on buying the new Lockheed Martin F-16 Viper (Block 70/72) variant. The Croatian Air Force uses its fighter jets mainly for air defense and the Eurofighter T1 can cover this role better than other second-hand aircraft on the market. The Typhoon is one of the most decisive aircraft in the doghfight and even without the entire suite of weapons, it is still lethal.
Croatian pilots have already been able to assess the capabilities of Eurofighter last summer as the RAF sent two Typhoons to Zagreb to conduct a joint exercise. This cooperation has shown how the introduction of the Eurofighter is crocial to allow an excellent integration with allies. Within a few years, the Typhoon and the F-35 will equip the main fleets of Western countries.
Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Italian Air Force