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četvrtak, 23. srpnja 2015.

Photos Of The Day: Croatian Air Force Upgraded Mig-21's Presented & Contract Officially Completed (+Video)

I'm not going to add much here because I've already covered this subject extensively since it was first announced in 2013, you can hit the previous post links below for all the particulars. In a nutshell, the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence on Wednesday finally and officially presented its squadron of MiG-21 aircraft following their upgrades and modernization work n Ukraine. This subject and project is now officially done, as in completely finished, as in papers signed, as in they have been officially tested numerous times, given the ok and are now officially flying and protecting Croatan skies.

It was quite a soap opera at times and risky. First there was the decision to upgrade, buying 5 new MiG-21's from Ukraine and upgrading 7 back in 2013. Then the Russia-Ukraine situation started and worsened by the week and day, then Serb paramilitaries in Ukraine arriving to cleanse and fight, so then all the Croatian jet fighters were in limbo as in would we even get them back because the Crimea fighting was inching closer and closer to facilities where the upgrades work was being done, (It could have turned into a complicated international political situation, considering we're part of NATO and the EU), then dismantling each one of them after the work was done and tested, transporting them individually in sections on large rigs back to Croatia (the air space was deemed not safe), and then reassembling them again, then having to be tested and retested again until all the contract work was proven to be done and everything fully operational and in order. They arrived a year late but, yep, it could have been a complete jet fighter-less fiasco.

The official presentation was to the Croatian Ministry of Defence at the Pleso military airfield, just south of Zagreb, and was attended, among others, by the NATO Air Command and Croatian Ministry of Defence and Air Force and Air Defence generals and representatives. The presentation was also accompanied by a flying programme and exercise demonstration afterwards.

The various modernization upgrades to the MiG-21 frames, newer and more efficient operational technology, up to date more modern weapons systems, guidance and radar systems, anti-radar detection systems etc, make them better prepared, more deadly and more efficient and up to date and interoperable within NATO. The Ukrainian defence company Ukrspecexport also issued a two-year guarantee. For those not in the know, there are still a number of former Communist government ruled countries that are now European NATO members and still using modernized interoperable MiG variants and even Sukhoi fighters, as well as helicopters. (I should add btw, NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and not North American Treaty Organization or North Alabama Treaty Organization or similar errors like I've come across at a few places)

These recent upgrades to the Croatian fighters will extend their life to about 2020. There were options on the table a few years ago to get new jet fighters, but the economic situation was not ideal, so the upgrades were decided upon as a cost-saving measure to the tune of about 1 million dollars for each plane, a much cheaper temporary alternative.

Which jet fighters will be patrolling Croatian skies in the near future hasn't yet been finalized and won't be until around 2018. F-16's, Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, French Mirage, South Korean/Lockheed Martin FA-50, the Israeli Kfir and some other possibilities are still on the table, even leasing Gripens like the Hungarian and Czech Air Force are doing is a possibility, with an option to eventually own, or not. There are a number of possibilities floating around, brand new jet fighters re not exactly cheap though, the Typhoons are a great combat aircraft too but they're going for at least 100 million Euros a pop, not exactly loose change. During the 1990's the Croatia Air Force consisted of over 40 MiG's, then they put 25 of them into full-time service, but these recent airframe upgrades and avionics technology modernizations make the current fleet of fighters actually the equivalent of 2 or 3 pre-upgrade fighters from the 90's, with much more modern avionics capabilities, weaponry and firepower.

The main thing is that for the next 5 years these aircraft will always be at the ready, patrolling and protecting the skies and making the world a safer and better place, making sure that no aircraft will be able to just saunter into Croatian airspace unnoticed and not be immediately confronted and proper protocol followed, protecting our beaches, our fashions, our soccer stadiums, film and music festivals, our restaurants, bars, beers and cheeses. making sure potential problems are immediately stopped with some AAM's and lots of explosions if need be. Making any foreign enemy aircraft, threat or threatening ground movements or suspicious aircrafts or boats into a big pile of melted aluminum and steel and limbs quickly. They will also help stop the illegal contraband shipments of A Serbian Film DVD's and and all those Jerry Springer show people. (I just recently moved and trust me, you don't want or need Jerry Springer show people for neighbours or in the vicinity, they can be worse than a case of ebola. They're in lots places everywhere you go, even just down the hall, then you know those boring shootings and stabbings are just around the corner, it's all just very boring). Anyway, this subject and project has come to a successful conclusion and is now officially done, completed and finished.

(Since already on this military topic, you may want to check out a previous Women of the Croatian Armed Forces post because I added some images over the past few months)

Previous related posts: croatian-migs-returning-from-ukraine






You'll notice in the photos and opening footage here that for the only MiG-21UMD painted in the traditional Croatian chequy pattern, they opted to stay with the original pattern instead of the newer versions that were being considered. It is very familiar at the air shows and is popularly called the "Kockica" (Dice).

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