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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Swedish Saab Gripen Fighter Offered To Croatia







 An image of the Saab JAS 39C Gripen using the current Croatian MIG-21 camouflage colour scheme.





*Update Oct 15,2012 - www.gripenblogs.com



I'm not particulary interested these days in military matters, but I do have a military background, and this is a topic that has been on the backburner for the last few years and I'm interested to see which fighter aircraft the Croatian Government and Croatian Armed Forces are going to choose. So I figure why not?





 3 Croatian MIG-21's on patrol in Croatia.






In a nutshell, Croatia currently uses the upgraded MIG-21 as it's main go to fighter/interceptor. In 2003 the Croatian government and Ministry of Defence conducted a  minor upgrade and an extensive overhaul was performed to make them interoperable with NATO air forces.  However, there has been talk over the past few years, (especially since becoming a member of NATO in 2009) about which fighter aircraft will be their next choice. Although the date has been quickly approaching regarding which fighter jet to get, technically Croatia could wait a while still before making a final decision. Like neighbouring Slovenia is currently doing, Croatia can temporarily have NATO fighters from neighbouring countries patrolling Croatian airspace.  Any kind of hypothetical emergencies or unforeseen circumstances and neighbouring NATO fighters will take care of business pretty quick.





 2 Croatian MIG-21's taking off for maneuvers in Croatia.






The world economic crisis slowed the process down, but they will have to decide in the very near future. Also helicopters will be on the bargaining table as Croatia  is in the process of completely modernizing their air defence systems across the board. An up to date radar and early warning systems network has already been implemented.   The MIG-21's are scheduled to be decomissioned within the next year or two. There is talk of possibly getting the Saab JAS 39 Gripen or the Eurofighter Typhoon.

However the possibilities of getting the Dassault Rafale, American F-16 and even the Russian MiG-35 were also on the table over the years. Croatia could still revamp their current fleet of fighters and modernize them up to date, which would save many millions and keep the fighter jets going for years still, they are still up to date regarding NATO requirements.  We'll have to see..urgency vis-a-vis cost. The rumour mills lately have been leaning towards the "Gripen" if there is to be a near future purchase, and with the article attached below, it seems the fighter aircraft suppliers are trying to get every ounce of leverage in gaining  the upper hand in negotiating a contract.  When the final decision is made I'll post the conclusion to this piece....







Sweden Offers Gripen to Croatia




2 Saab Gripens flying over Sweden. Photo: Jamie Hunter




Source: www.defencetalk.com

Related: fxm.se/en/pressrum

www.osrh.hr

wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-21

defender.hr

merln.ndu.edu/whitepapers/Croatia_English-2006-2015.pdf

winterheart-zombieboy.blogspot.com/croatian-ambassador-becomes-nato-assistant

www.saabgroup.com

www.nacional.hr



Today, the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (FXM) invited Croatian media to a press briefing in Zagreb to present the Swedish Gripen offer that has been submitted to the Croatian government.

Through FXM, the Swedish Government submitted an offer including the sale of either twelve or eight of the latest version of Gripen C/D. The offer also includes a support and training agreement for pilots and technicians.

In order to ensure that the Croatian Air Force remains operative without interruption when its current MiG-21s are decommissioned, Sweden is initially offering a loan of older Gripen-A aircraft until the delivery of the Gripen C/Ds.

Linked to a possible Croatian acquisition of Gripen fighters Saab offers an industrial co-operation package. Supported by the combined experiences and resources of its strong industrial network, Saab and the Gripen supplier base offers Croatia a partnership through a new generation defence and industrial co-operation programme. Saab is ready to commit to an industrial co-operation obligation valued at 100 percent of the contract value.

“Saab has an excellent track record of delivering on our promises in Czech Republic, Hungary and South Africa. We offer Croatia industrial co-operation programmes designed to create and sustain high tech jobs, delivering investment and generating sustainable export growth thus generating means to finance the acquisition of a new fighter system”, says Pierre Gauffin, Marketing Director Gripen Croatia, Saab.

Gripen is in operational service with the Swedish, Czech Republic, Hungarian, South African and Royal Thai Air Forces. The UK Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS) is also operating Gripen as its advanced fast jet platform for test pilots worldwide.


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As a an interesting and relevent end to this post, I decided to leave a couple short vids. The first one is a very short video which touches upon the little known fact about Rudolf Perešin. I guess one could say he was the catalyst for the embryo of the beginning of the modern Croatian airforce when he defected and flew his plane to Austria instead attacking Croatia as ordered by the Jugoslav military. The second one is just short footage of the sole MIG-21 that is symbolically painted in the traditional Croatian chequered pattern, known locally as the "Kockasti", doing some low flybys at an airshow in Varaždin, Croatia.  I put it here just because it looked cool and I felt like it.










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