Zagreb, Nov 25 (IANS) The Croatian government has approved the purchase of 12 used French Rafale multi-role fighter planes amid the official visit by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The 12 Rafale fighter jets, which include 10 single-seater and two two-seater fighter jets at a price of 999 million euros, will be paid in five installments from 2022 to 2026, according to the government session on Wednesday during which the purchase was approved.
The deal came amid Macron’s visit to Croatia starting from Wednesday evening, and this is the first visit by a French head of state since Croatia’s independence in 1991, Xinhua news agency reported.
As part of Macron’s visit, Croatian Defence Minister Mario Banozic and his French counterpart Florence Parly will sign the arms deal on Thursday morning, which is believed to be the largest arms purchase since Croatia’s Independence.
Banozic said on Wednesday the 12 French Rafale fighter jets were planes fully compatible with NATO standards that would be “sufficient for Croatia for 30 years or more.”
In addition to the 12 fighter jets, the arms deal package also includes a modern flight simulator that will provide a full range of training and validation of tactics, ground and test equipment, as well as spare parts and comprehensive support from the manufacturer, Banozic added.
Moreover, on Thursday morning, the two sides will also sign a strategic partnership agreement between the two countries to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and relations.