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četvrtak, 11. srpnja 2013.

Croatia Signs MiG-21 Upgrade & Purchase Deal With Ukraine

It just occurred to me that I didn't finish off the conclusion to this topic, which I originally posted about Here.  I already knew the outcome a few months ago, so I should finish it off with a few thoughts of my own included. Firstly, of course it would be nice to always get new jet fighters, tanks and ships every 5-10 years, but everyone knows defence costs are not cheap, so basically it came down to bad timing and the economy. I thought this was probably going to be the outcome from the start, but kept hoping I would be surprised. All in all though, considering the options vis-a-vis the needs of the Croatian Air Force, and the Croatian Armed Forces as a whole, I think this was a practical and correct 2nd choice when everything is taken into consideration. Here's why....

Based on quite a bit of conversation I read in threads and military discussion groups, it basically came down to the money. "It's the economy stupid" as the saying goes. (One also has to remember, there are numerous other projects going on and we're only a population of around 4 1/2 million)  The Saab Gripen was easily the first choice for new fighters compared to the other options, but they had to put it on the backburner because of the economic crisis etc. (The Gripens were by far the best bang for the bucks performance wise and considerably cheaper than other available options, just bad timing in the end. They also had the lowest cost among a flightline of modern fighters, estimated to cost $4,700 per flight hour. The Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, Saab Gripen, American F-16 and even the Russian MiG-35 were options on the table over the years). Without getting into all of the technical vocabulary and weapons and guidance systems specs talk that would just probably confuse or bore you, this choice to upgrade 7 and buy 5 more Mig-21s (the 5 already have the newer upgrades and are practically new, some reports are stating that 8 MiG-21's are being offered so 5 MiG's are the minimum that will be bought) will at least keep Croatian skies protected by Croatian jets fighters until the end of the decade.

There was even recently an offer of Phantoms from the German Luftwaffe which amounted almost to a free donation of jet fighters, but the sheer costs associated with them (costs nearly equivalent to introducing a modern 4th generation aircraft) made it unfeasible. Same goes with the F-16 option, to make radar, weapons systems, communications systems, training and the whole infrastructure working properly, plus expensive new type ammunition costs, the amounts would have been staggering, and then they would just have to do it all over again anyway when they do get new fighters not that far down the road. (It was estimated about 120 million for 10 used F-16's, but then another 500 million just to be able to use them)

The various upgrades that will be taking place with this Ukrspecexport deal will cover a lot of bases, new modern and more efficient cockpits/controls, landing gear, fuel tanks, radar systems, better fuel consumption, ability for more weaponry and better weaponry systems, work on the airframes and a bunch of other other things. The first delivery of a completely upgraded plane will be in about 3 months, so these Croatian MiG's should be flying until the end of the decade now, I forget how many thousands of flight hours are going to be added to the planes life spans, but these workhorses will be around for a while yet (Which means that in about 6 years we'll be going through all this again for a final decision on new fighters, because these planes will not be able to be upgraded again. They will then go to museums or used for airshows. They could maybe sell them to Afghanistan with lots of extra spare parts, you never know)

Also again,  the cost compared to spending the dough for new fighters right now? contest, a little over a million dollars for each plane is a drop in the bucket by comparison. Also, like I mentioned previously, Croatia will importantly still have sovereignty over it's own air space which to me is very important. Slovenia and Albania for years now have been having neighbouring NATO countries fly sorties over their airspace, and I highly doubt Croatia will be involved in any air wars over the Adriatic, Mediterranean or Eastern Europe anytime soon. No more cold war and Russia is not the enemy, (example)...there are different enemies now)  These MiG'-21's will still continue to be compatible with and a part of European and NATO exercises, there are a number of European NATO member nations still using MiG's and Russia actually did the upgrading for them. MiG 21's are categorized as a short range fighter and interceptor, which suits us fine to patrol our airspace, intercept straying aircraft or to strafe or shoot ASM missiles at terrorists, 21st century serb pirates, illegal migrants/terrorists, illegals sneaking across the border to hold unlicensed serbo-trumpet festivals.  Anyway, we'll have to wait and see what the Croatian Airforce will be flying in 2020, I'm predicting right here and now in the next decade the Croatian Air Force will consist of  the Saab JAS 39 Gripens, pretty confident about it anyway.  You never know these days, they might get a sweeter deal from the Russians and get newer 4th generation MiG -29's. Jet fighters are a very competitive market these days. This same Ukrainian company did upgrade work earlier this year to six Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters. (Ukraine is also the home of Ukrainian Playboy btw)

(*I can't find any footage of Croatian MiG's engaging in any live fire exercises with lots of explosions and body parts unfortunately, not much exciting new footage from the Croatian Airshows either. Somebody at the airshows try to get some good footage uploaded to Youtube, without ruining it with music too. Very important. (I want to hear the planes whooshing and people oooh-ing and aaah-ing and clapping and whistling)  Also just this past April, the new VHS-2 version of the VHS assault rifle was presented in Split, Croatia. More info on that and other related topics at,, or

Related previous post: croatian-air-force-mig21-saab-gripen

Ukrspecexport signs contract to upgrade Croatian MiG-21 aircraft


Ukrspecexport state enterprise and the Croatian Defense Ministry have signed a contract on repairs and modernization of MiG-21 aircraft for the tactical air defense of the Air Force of the Republic of Croatia. Ukrspecexport has won relevant tender in June 2013.

Ukrspecexport's press service told an Interfax-Ukraine reporter that the document was signed by Ukrspecexport Director General Dmitry Aleksandrovich Peregudov and Croatian Defense Minister Ante Kotromanovic in Zagreb on Monday. According to the contract, the Ukrainian side will repair Croatia's seven MiG-21 aircraft by the middle of 2014. The contractor will be Odesa Aircraft Repair Plant Odesaviaremservis, which is a part of Ukroboronprom Concern.

In addition, the Croatian Defense Ministry will buy another five refurbished MiG-21 from Ukrspecexport, which belong to Odesaviaremservis, Ukrspecexport said. According to open foreign sources, the contract is worth 80 million kuna ($13.7 million, or EUR 10.5 million), which will be provided from the state budget of Croatia in 2013.

This is the second Croatian arms tender, which has been won by Ukraine since the beginning of the year. In May, the Defense Ministry of Croatia chose Ukraine for repairing six Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters.

This is footage I used before. I like to visualize that there's a group of terrorists atop some watertower with a big banner about Allah or Death to Euro-Satans or something, and the promise to shoot down the next commercial jetliner with a missile launcher. At the 1:00 minute mark the MiG-21 pilot just got the order to blast them and the whole tower with ASM's. (and then the explosions, those glorious heavenly freedom-filled explosions)


An updated sneak peek from Ukraine on November 30, 2013. One of first MiG-21's to be delivered to Croatia starting in mid-December. Complete with a newly painted all-grey camouflage scheme which will be the new standard and replace the previous version seen above. More images at and (For more recent images see updated posts HERE and HERE)

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