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utorak, 7. kolovoza 2018.

Photos Of The Day: Israeli F-16s Fly Over Knin Fortress For "Operation Storm/Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day" Ceremonies (+Video)







Three recently arrived Israeli F-16s (soon to be Croatian F-16s in 2020) took part in fly-bys with Croatian jet fighters during "Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day/Day of Croatian Defenders" ceremonies above historic Knin Fortress on August 5th, 2018. (more information about the F-16s purchase below).





Well, it's time to get back to the real world since my last post, back to real-time events and real topics on this spinning dirtball in frozen space. Although I'm not even remotely a typical gung-ho military type at all or a wannabe Rambo, Universal Soldier or Commando or one of those other bullshit one-liner soldier actor movies, (or one of those jacktards who wear camo clothing because it makes them feel like they were in the military or in a video game), but this topic was interesting for a few reasons. But mainly because a few Israeli F-16s took part in the annual Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day/Day of Croatian Defenders holiday ceremonies this year in Croatia at the historic Knin Fortress in the city of Knin.

Why is that interesting? well because recently acquired Croatian F-16s or any F-16s for that matter, were not expected to be seen flying Croatian skies until 2020, so it was sort of a sneak peek for the viewing public to catch sight of them early.


*(Here's a quick reminder I should explain though so as to avoid any confusion about some of the other related holidays;

- June 25th is Croatian "Statehood Day" (Dan Državnosti) which marks the official declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia after democratic elections in 1991,  (the Croatian referendum on independence was held in May 1991 with over 93% of voters supporting the independence, this same June 25th 1991 date is also celebrated in Slovenia but as "Slovenian Statehood Day" for the same reasons where over 94% supported independence, which is another country).

- October 8th is "Independence Day" (Dan Neovisnosti) which marks the day in 1991 when the unanimous decision of the Croatian Parliament officially terminated all links between Croatia and the former Yugoslavia.

- However this August 5th date is "Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day/Day of Croatian Defenders" (Dan Pobjede i Domovinske Zahvalnosti/ Dan Hrvatskih Branitelja) or just commonly known as "Victory Day" which marks the end of the War of Independence in 1995 (ie; it more specifically marks the liberation of previously ethnically cleansed and occupied territory of Croatia by the combined Serb armed forces, Serb church cult supported paramilitaries and the remaining Serb-Yugoslav army since 1991, as well as the ending of their shelling and rocket attacks on other free towns and cities in Croatia, (including sporadic indiscriminate shelling and mortar attacks on Zadar, Šibenik, Split and even rocket attacks on the capital city Zagreb just weeks before the occupation ending counter-offensive) and of course honouring the fallen defenders and all civilian Croat and Non-Serb casualties). The hybrid Communist-Nationalist Serb cult church so-called Greater Serbia fantasy attempt would have to go try elsewhere but not within our territorial borders. I should also note that this public holiday has nothing to do with the Serb attacks that still continued in Bosnia although it did directly accelerate their ending there shortly afterwards also, and it also has absolutely no connection to the later events in Kosovo or the Nato bombing of Serbia-Yugoslavia in 1999 either, those are completely other topics, events, leaders, alphabets, civilizations, religions and histories that are not part of the current Republic of Croatia and Central Europe historicity. (as well as that whole Ukraine thing, those were Serbs it must be remembered, they're not Croats, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Japanese, Israelis or anybody else, I looked into it trust me I know what I'm talking about).


***

I just reposted the whole F-16s jets deal topic below which has all the particulars and explains everything, but in a nutshell the Croatian government a few months ago made a decision to buy 12 upgraded Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft in a package worth over 500 million dollars, (about 420 million Euros) to replace the current MiG-21 fleet. And it's actually a part of a larger more comprehensive project that involves other security & defence cooperation projects that will strengthen the national security of both countries.

Croatian pilots have already started training and flying the F-16s in Israel, however the first fully upgraded F-16s weren't expected to be flying or seen in Croatian skies until 2020. Which brings me to the main point of the post, that this year the Israeli government decided to participate in the military fly-over during the official ceremonies in Knin. The 3 Israeli F-16s (soon to be Croatian, just visualize them in Croatian paint schemes and emblems) arrived just a few days earlier at Pleso Air Base near Zagreb after being escorted by the Croatian MiG-21, and so it also gave the general public and anyone below a sneak peek look at what will be a more regular common sight in a few years, so I thought that was pretty cool and interesting to add here.




Defense Minister Damir Krstičević and Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov held a public media session with a delegation of the State of Israel before the ceremonies. Photos: defence-blog.com.







Besides the Croatian President, Prime Minister and other government officials (who afterwards attended the nearby 303rd Sinjska alka which is an equestrian competition held annually in the town of Sinj since 1715 including historical 18th century cavalry knights uniforms, it's even on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list), there were also U.S. Israeli, Montenegrin and other military envoys were among the guests attending the event, while Israeli jets joined the Croatian Air Force in a fly-by. The highlight of the day is honouring the many civilian deaths and defenders and remembering how the new professionally organized and armed Croat forces in 1995 used combined-arms tactics, including integrated air, artillery, and infantry movements, as well as maneuver warfare targeted accurately against the occupying Serbian command, control, and communication systems that left their armed forces and ground support confused, retreating in disarray and mostly vanquished within just 24 hours.

Actually, the liberating "Operacija Oluja" (Operation Storm) operation was such a successful professionally organized and precisely targeted counter-offensive operation with remarkably little bloodshed, that today many military analysts have praised it for its originality as well as the quick level of success and achieved primary objective of stopping Serb-Yugoslav forces armed aggression, occupation and continued attacks on civilians, today it's even studied in American military schools and academies as a superlative model of a successful planned counter-offensive operation.




Here's a couple bonus videos briefly summing up the liberating and Croatian Homeland War ending "Operation Storm". This first one is the Croatian language version (with the cool catchy gameshow musical intro), the one below that is the English language version. In both versions it shows the final celebration atop the historic Knin Fortress mentioned earlier.







Of course everyone knows that Israel has had it's own problems with extremist and terrorist groups, indiscriminate rockets and mortaring attacks of civilians and especially threats to the country's existence from neighbouring hostile governments and their armed forces, and of course their state-sponsored terrorism and support for organizations that support terrorism around the world. And likewise they know how to answer back swiftly and thoroughly because that's what must be done because it's the right thing to do, just like Croatia which is a strategic Nato member, part of  Central European alliances, member of the European Union and participate in many of the military aspects, other European security organizations and alliances, peacekeeping missions etc, progress, freedom and real civilization and values must be protected at all cost (as well as the beaches and related women's rights also). And the topic isn't even remotely about any religion or religions either, but rather it's all about protecting the sovereignty of the country within it's own established and recognized and secure borders, about protecting it's civilization from foreign intruders and threats, ensuring it's rights and existence from any potential threats and dangers in whatever form.


And for some brief supplementary background information about the historic city of Knin and Knin Fortress the reader may not know;

Knin Fortress became a known strategic hilltop fortress already during the time of Croatian Duke Trpimir I in the 9th century ( 845–864). It was later expanded and rebuilt in part by other Croatian Dukes and Princes including during the reigns of King Michael Krešimir II (949–969) and King Stephen Držislav (969–976) in the 10th century.

The Croats originally built the early fortress near a devastated former Roman settlement (Latin: Tignino castro), soon after the still pagan Croats settled in the area in larger numbers in the 7th-8th century. Its guardians continuously upgraded the structure to accommodate the defensive needs at that time. It was one of the residences of Croatian monarchs in the Middle Ages and also became a main royal residence later after expansion, it was a protected and strategic fortified centre to rule from in Knin especially over the lands of the former ancient Liburnia and Dalmatia.

Knin is first mentioned in the 10th-century work De Administrando Imperio by the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VII. as the centre of the Knin county (županija), and as one of the populated towns in the Croatian realms. (Interestingly he also wrote that the Croats after arriving from areas north of the Danube in the 6th-7th centuries and then liberating and settling in ancient Pannonia, Dalmatia and across Illyricum, that Croatia even during the reign of King Tomislav (circa. 925) had a vast military force composed of at least 100,000 infantrymen, 60,000 horsemen/cavalry and a sizable fleet of 80 large ships and 100 smaller vessels, I'll bet lots of readers didn't know that, these internet machines are great). Knin reached its peak during the reign of Dmitar Zvonimir (Latin: Demetrius), who was King of Croatia from 1076-1089, because it served as a more permanent royal residence and political center of the Croatian Kingdom under him. Because of this Knin became known as the "City of Croatian Kings" or "Zvonimir's City" (Zvonimirov Grad) in later centuries and in recent times, as well as defensively important during the Croatian-Ottoman and Habsburg-Ottoman wars (basically it's where he liked to hang out with the royal court and jesters/jugglers/entertainment etc, better oversee the army and navy activities, deal with various diplomats and representatives of the Venetians, Normans, Franks, Hungarians, make charters and treaties and bestow grants, plan defence policies against the Byzantines and Saracens, trade and treaty meetings, basically Knin Fortress was one of the places for Zvonimir and other Croatian Kings to fuck the shit up, make shit happen, fuck shit up "royally" against other motherfuckers, do some fucking around and other fucking shit like that, and probably eat roasted mutton, fish and drink mead once in a while too probably). That's some bonus downtown Hamilton street lingo for some readers, and the basic gist of it.




To put it into perspective and in the historical context, during those 9th century times of the various Croatian Monarchs and the mentioned Knin/Knin Fortress, the borders of Croatia actually had Bulgaria as an eastern neighbour (there were some battles but the border pretty well still remained along the Drina river) and at the western border was the Germanic Franks, how's that for interesting? and on top of that there wasn't even a Romania, Poland, a Russia and even some other countries/kingdoms yet either (this would also be quite a few centuries before Dracula, Nikola Zrinski, and of course even well before Chef Boyardee sailed across the Atlantic, sounds unbelievable but it's true).





Anyway, below are a few images of the Israeli F-16s (again soon to be Croatian F-16s) flying with the Croatian MiGs over Knin Fortress during the official ceremonies, and even some other bonus views...





A brief version of the fly-by above the city of Knin and Knin Fortress.



The main ceremonies at Knin Fortress were especially attended by the various Croatian government and military representatives as well as foreign guests, some fly-by footage starts at the 2:00 minute mark and the Israeli F-16s fly-by is at the 4:00 minute mark.



Exclusive sneak peek newscast footage of the F-16s and escorting Croatian MiG arriving at Pleso Air Base just a few days earlier before the holiday official Knin ceremonies.

















Besides the Israeli F-16s and Croatian MiGs there was also ceremonial fly-bys by a few various interior ministry, police, air force transport helicopters and of course the recently acquired Kiowa OH-58D Warrior helicopters.








 The Croatian aerobatic team "Wings of Storm" also did a ceremonial fly-by and some aerobatic maneuvers (more about that at wings-of-storm-croatian-aerobatic-teams-100th-display).




Also doing a fly-by were Croatian firefighting aircraft, after an invitation of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanjahu in November 2016 and in 2017, Croatia sent two Bombardier 415 superscooper amphibious aircraft, along with 14 crew members and aeronautical-technical staff as an air assistance in fighting forest fires that broke out in northern and central Israel. Recently Israel also posted a video as a thank you to the pilots and crew members.




And I should note even though Knin and Knin Fortress is the the main central official location for the annual ceremony, especially because of its historic connection to early Croatian history and symbolic as a Royal Croatian city for centuries later, there are also numerous other commemorations and celebrations across the country also with free music, entertainment and thankfulness-peace and freedom concerts. (because boys and girls, all the cool and interesting things I post about could very well never have happened, even my previous post and recent design district post might not have happened because they'd probably be playing for and designing other countries somewhere instead because there would be no Croatia, remember that boys and girls because it's true and a terrible bizarro-world alternate reality that was prevented, if it happened I'd probably instead be posting about celebs gossip news, sports rumours and doing those pointless Youtube unboxing videos just gabbing pointlessly).





*Below is a repost from March, 2018.





Croatian Air Force To Fly F-16 Fighter Jets In 2020 After Israeli Deal (+ Other Security & Defence Cooperation Projects)




Latest images of the soon to be F-16 C/D Block-40 "Barak" ("lightning") multirole fighter jets with Croatian Air Force colour schemes, roundel and insignia, the first Croatian F-16s are expected to be delivered and in service in 2020.





I'm finding all the non-celeb stabbings, shootings and botched robberies/drug deals news around here boring so here's something different, something that will protect and help assure the safety of numerous Croatian beaches, cafes, pubs, beers, castles, fashion shows, events and many other things (yep and even parks and the bears,wolves and lynxs that live in them), and some things that aren't even located in Croatia but in other countries as you'll see, it's not just about galavanting in the clouds at supersonic speed and looking cool in aviator glasses and then the weekend pilot's keg parties like some people may think. This topic I briefly touched upon before so I should finish it now that a final decision has been made and include some of the main points, all the information below is the condensed nuts and bolts information regarding the F-16 squadron package deal.

A little background information first...the topic of new multirole fighter jets for the Croatian Air Force has been on the table for the last 15 years, and even contemplated already in the late 90's. Over the last few as the time was approaching to make a final decision, as the current fleet of upgraded MiG-21's will end their service life in just a few years right around 2022. I had some preferences of fighter jets I would have liked to have seen flying Croatian skies soon such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, F/A-18F Super Hornet or a few others, but in reality I knew it was just wishful thinking and not economically feasible or even practical, for example you can just about buy 8 F-16s for the price of 1 new Eurofighter Typhoon. Then last year when the first rumours started and leaked information came out about what the Israeli offer all included, then I knew it was going to their F-16s.

Anyway long story short, the most recent and most serious bidding process for the new squadron of jet fighters started last year promising that the issue was finally going to be settled once and for all because it had to, as the current fleet of upgraded MiG-21's will end their service life in just a few years.





Latest images of the soon to be F-16 C/D Block-40 "Barak" ("lightning") multirole fighter jets with Croatian Air Force colour schemes, roundel and insignia, the first Croatian F-16s are expected to be delivered and in service in 2020




In October 2017, Croatia's Defence Ministry said its international tender for the procurement of multi-purpose combat aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-designed MiG-21s had attracted four main bids - from Greece, Israel, Sweden and the United States. Then in December the 2 best proposals were narrowed down to Sweden and Israel. With regard to the Swedish offer, the major problem for the purchase of their new JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters was the price, at around 750 million dollars, as well as higher annual maintenance costs and not including weapons either. Then after further discussions with the Israeli government officials, and special guarantees from the Ministry of Defence, Israeli Air Force, Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries, the upgraded Israeli F-16 C/D Block-40 "Barak" ("lightning") multirole jet fighters were officially chosen just recently, and the contracts and agreements paperwork are in the process of officially being signed even as I'm writing this. The JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters were a good choice of quality combat aircraft but they just couldn't compete with what the Israelis were including as part of the purchase, so perhaps when the next combat aircraft procurement process starts in about 20-25 years. The Israeli F-16s overall package and related investments projects was just too good to pass up.


(*Note- Although I should mention that there are no hard feelings whatsoever with the defence and security company Saab/Gripen regarding the jets purchase final decision, because Saab will still set up an innovation programme which will include a software centre, a science park and a university research programme, which they already assured last year is not even reliant on or part of the Saab Gripen jets offer. The new research and commercial cooperation between the University of Zagreb and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm is supporting the innovation programme which will contribute to digital transformation and create new opportunities that will result in increased global competitiveness. “The aim is to establish and offer high-quality software engineering services in order to create value for clients, create new jobs and develop competencies of software engineering in Croatia. This initiative can bring open 200 to 300 jobs in software engineering”, said Hakan Buskhe, Saab’s CEO. The primary range of services will include software and system development, cybersecurity and technical publications, the focus will be on areas of defence, aviation, telecom services, public sector, transportation and mobility which will benefit both Croatia and Sweden and even well beyond, especially nearby Nato countries initially, with the various technology used to even help track and combat organized crime and criminal networks and activities, especially the traveling Serbian criminal gangs and bandits spreading into Europe including Sweden since the 90's (example/example, there's lots of similar shenanigans examples over the years)...with their illegal weapons, drugs, fake passports and documents extortion and people smuggling, even various terrorists/extremists and subversives of all sorts as well as combat illegal human smuggling, illegal border crossings, contraband of all sorts, more efficient border control and many other important security issues. So it's a win-win situation for all the parties involved and the world anyway*)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed the Croatian government's decision to buy the 12 upgraded Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft in a package worth over 500 million dollars, (about 420 million Euros) and described this project as a step that will strengthen the ties between Israel and Croatia for years to come and better national security.

And now for the bonus interesting details about the overall purchase deal, because it definitely won't be a case of just buying some planes, (as in thank you very much, here's the keys and see you around, enjoy your planes and good luck with that, like buying a used car at some shady car lot). The entire complete multipurpose jet fighters purchase package is quite involved and a solid investment that will continue for many years in numerous different spheres and projects, and even help the economy and technology sectors creating jobs and new technologies.




 In January 2018 Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Davos Switzerland during the Davos Economic Forum and they already agreed to move forward on the sale of Israeli F-16s to Croatia according to the terms of the tender. Netanyahu added that this development is a further expression of the deep ties between the two countries and the two leaders also agreed to expand economic, security, water, agricultural, academic and tourism cooperation. He also thanked the Croatian Prime Minister for sending Croatian Firefighter Squadron planes to help battle major forest fires in November 2016 and in 2017. (Photo: Reuters)




Because the deal also includes the combat training of Croatian pilots in Israel, all the aircraft armaments, 2 training simulators, training of technicians and maintenance staff, a package of spare parts and equipment for ground support, (so no need to buy spare parts from Lockheed right away), infrastructure construction and adaptation, three years of support including the presence of Israeli instructors in Croatia, and even the construction and equipping of facilities at Croatia's military airports, and especially important is that the fighter jets deal will also be implemented and guaranteed by the Israeli Government, Ministry of Defence, in cooperation with the Israeli Air Force and including with Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries. The first Croatian pilots and technicians are expected to travel to Israel in summer 2019 for pilot and technicians training.

(*Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, unmanned aircraft systems, advanced electro-optics, electro-optic space systems, electronic warfare suites, signal intelligence systems, dark energy and dark matter plasma ionizers, photon pulse wave-packet beams, data links and communications systems and radios)





Armament options and some performance specs of the Israeli F-16C/D Block-40 ‘Barak' (Lightning), it's in Croatian though but you can still look at the pictures. Aviation experts say the upgraded and modified Israeli F-16s are more accurately considered 4.5 generation multirole fighter jets instead of 4th generation.




Croatia's Defence Minister Damir Krstičević was quoted as saying, after Zagreb opted for the Israeli bid, that "this is a historic day for the Croatian Air Force and an investment into the security of the Republic of Croatia." Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was quoted by the Israel Defence journal as saying. "Based on the parameters presented to us by our expert team, we believe that we have made a responsible decision which will meet all the needs of the Croatian Air Force in the next 30 years."

Experts and inside sources say that the delivered planes will be upgraded by Israel Aerospace Industries with their very latest technologies that are currently used in the Israeli Air Force. Conducted by Israel Aerospace Industries, in co-operation with several other Israeli companies, the F-16 ACE upgrades provide an Elta Systems EL/M-2032 fire control radar with synthetic aperture radar mapping modes. Updated cockpit equipment includes a trio of 5 x 7in colour displays and an Elbit Systems helmet-mounted display system. The aircraft also can be equipped with a variety of new weapons and sensors. As the planes can be fitted with Israeli missiles such as the Rafael Python, most probably they will also sell extra ammunition to Croatia if required, who have been a member of NATO since 2009.

"The aircraft will arrive completely adapted to NATO standards and the cost includes everything that the aircraft will require to remain in service over the next 25 years at least," Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said after his cabinet unanimously voted in favor of the purchase last week. The sum of around 500 million dollars will also conveniently be paid in 10 annual instalments.





Croatian F-16s will be airframe upgraded for a longer service life and include advanced cutting-edge avionics, radar and technological systems with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) being the upgrade contractor. The F-16s will be equipped with advanced Israeli weapon systems including the Python air-to-air missile produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, as well as be interoperable with Croatian Nato standards. Aviation experts consider them as 4.5 generation multirole combat aircraft. The first modernized Israeli F-16 jets are expected in 2020 and they will be the most advanced, powerful and sophisticated F-16s in the world.




As mentioned, the value of the deal of the 12 used upgraded F-16 C/D Barak multirole jet fighters is estimated at over 500 million U.S. dollars (420 million Euros) and will include a wide array of weapons, two simulators, combat pilot training, and importantly "a guarantee that the state or Israel is behind the deal." The F-16C/D Block-40 ‘Barak' still makes up a major part of the IAF today and of the roughly 125 Baraks in service, about four dozen of them are two-seater D models. (Croatia will be receiving 10+2, 10 single seater F-16C + 2  F-16D models). The first jets are expected to arrive in 2020 and the remaining ones by 2022, just as the MiG-21's will be at the end of their operational service life, then probably put in museums.

(The Croatian Air Force (Croatian: Hrvatsko ratno zrakoplovstvo or HRZ) currently operates the MiG-21, some of which were refurbished by the Ukrainian firm Ukrspetsexport during 2013-2014. All of them are at the 91st Air Base (91 Zrakoplovna Baza) Zagreb/Pleso. The MiG-21 will perform later this year at the Croatian International Airshow in Varaždīn, which will be one of the last few times the general public will see MiGs flying up close).





Polish Air Force F-16s currently in service. Image: Polish Ministry of National Defence.




As for other interesting and important aspects of the deal, American inspectors, Washington and Lockheed Martin (manufacturer of the original F-16) have also been in contact with Croatian government authorities and inspectors, and after inspecting the jet fighters and their upgrades and technological systems themselves, they've given complete assurances about the quality of the Israeli F-16 jets as well as full approval for the Croatian purchase.

This is because the Israeli F-16s have extensive local modifications from the original American versions that were manufactured and sold or put into service. Israeli F-16's have different and superior avionics fits and higher gross weights, doubled fuel capacity requiring changes in the landing gear and the use of new wheels, airframe upgrades which strengthen and extend the service life. The maximum all-up weight of an Israeli F-16 is 48,000 pounds, as compared to 42,300 pounds for a USAF Block 40 F-16C. The third batch of F-16C/D’s is fitted with Elta’s EL/L-8240 ECM, replacing Lockheed Martin Defense Systems’ (LMDS, formerly Loral) AN/ALQ-178 Rapport III internal ECM. Many of the modifications and upgrades that Israeli F-16C’s have were even later also incorporated by Lockheed Martin into the newly manufactured 4th generation F-16's, they also have larger navigation lights mountings on the intake which house electronics. Conducted by Israel Aerospace Industries, in co-operation with several other Israeli companies, the F-16 ACE upgrades provide an Elta Systems EL/M-2032 fire control radar with synthetic aperture radar mapping modes. Updated cockpit equipment includes a trio of 5 x 7in colour displays and an Elbit Systems helmet-mounted display system. The aircraft also can be equipped with a variety of new weapons and sensors.

With the amount of upgrades, modifications and advanced weapons and systems improvements that the Israeli F-16's have, aviation experts say they are more accurately considered 4.5 generation multirole fighter jets instead of 4th generation. The Israelis have even given assurances that any future upgrades and advanced systems modifications performed on Israeli Air Force F-16s in service, will also be available for the Croatian F-16s, so they will easily serve the needs of the Croatian Air Force for decades.

But that's not all like I said that's only part of the overall deal. According to some of the information presented to the media, the jet fightet deal consists of eight points altogether. Israel will also include industrial cooperation through investment in agriculture, energy, the IT sector, shipbuilding and tourism. The Israelis will also cooperate with Croatia in several areas such as cybernetics and demining. Apart from industrial co-operation, the Israeli side has put great emphasis on the cooperation of the defence industry. One of the proposed projects is the opening of a new military-commercial Cyber Security Center. By realizing this project, the Israeli side promises the availability to Croatia of high technology in real time. It will be a center where the technology for the fight against drones will take place, among other things, it will further develop technology that is already present and which will be even more represented in the military and civil aviation also in the future.





Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s (Photo by Mike Schoenmaker)



Royal Danish Air Force F-16



Japanese Air Force multirole Mitsubishi F-2, which are derived from the F-16 Fighting Falcon.




Over the past decade especially, it is common knowledge that drones have become an indispensable part of the armaments of the modern armies of the world. The realization of this part of the project would probably be initiated by Israel Aerospace Industries, which among other things is also involved in the aviation systems of the purchased F-16's. Another part of the military cooperation and one of the most important partners would be the Israeli company Elbit Systems. According to presented information, they would invest in the construction of an ammunitions factory. Experts say that this would conveniently provide ammunition for the Croatian Army, but, more importantly for Israel, it would also ensure a foreign supply and exports to the Israeli market. Co-operation with Elbit Systems is also possible in other areas as they develop defence systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force segments. The Croatian Ministry of Defence has already previously negotiated the acquisition of several systems with Elbit Systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, and a recent contract signed for the purchase of a number of remote control station 30mm cannons for the Croatian Patria armored vehicles.


Aspects of the other Israeli agreed cooperation projects as part of the F-16's deal include:

1. Advanced systems in agriculture

2. Large projects in the field of energy

3. Opening of the military-commercial Cyber Security Center

4. Investments in production of ships, (some of which could be exported to Israel, last year Israel expressed interest in obtaining Croatian built patrol ships)

5. Joint development of counter-drone technology

6. Privatization of the Aircraft and Technical Center in Velika Gorica

7. Cybernetics

8. Demining of parts of Croatia (any remaining Serb army and Serb church paramilitary forces mines left over from the 90s)



All in all, a great multifaceted defence investment for the future as well as quality multirole fighter jets that will be more than sufficient to perform required air-policing/interception duties and any emergency, defence or combat role situations. Israel is the world's 2nd largest user of F-16s and has the most extensive and successful record of using the F-16 in combat. Of 67 kills achieved by the F-16 world-wide, 47 are accredited to the Israeli Defense Forces F-16s, (including Operation Opera which put an abrupt end to Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program and Osirak (Tamuz) nuclear reactor near Baghdad, involving a 1000-mile round-trip journey - well over the official range of the F-16, and numerous missile sites in Syria were attacked and destroyed and fierce air battles with Syrian fighters took place. A total of 92 Syrian fighters (more than 30% of total inventory) were shot down, and Israeli F-16s achieved a 44-0 kill ratio). The F-16s proved very effective while combating the various jihadists and terrorists attacking from the surrounding muslim nations, during and after the 2006 Lebanon war, Israeli F-16s shot down Iranian-made UAV drones launched by Hezbollah, using Rafael Python 5 air-to-air missiles.

And during the procurement process Croatia was also in contact with a number of other European Nato members who also use F-16s in their Air Forces. During talks with Romanian officials, who's Air Force uses 12 F-16s, they reported that they were very satisfied with their performance and maintenance cost issues and are planning to hopefully purchase a further 24 Block 50 F-16s by 2025. At the end of the day however, starting in 2020 the Croatian Air Force, along with the Israeli Air Force of course, will be using the most up to date upgraded, modernized and sophisticated F-16s in the world. And it couldn't come at a better time too, the F-16s with their .03 to .05 kiloton AGM missiles will thwart any future shore landing attempts by Ra's al Ghul and his minions if necessary, intelligence reports last year reported his dastardly plan is to transfer the entire populations of Egypt, Libya, Algeria and the whole Middle East into Italy and Greece by 2030 before then taking over North America, China and Japan, he's just plain diabolically evil that guy.




A synopsis of some of the points mentioned earlier.



Video courtesy of www.youtube.com/channel/CroatianFalcon





And as an interesting updated bonus footage, Željko Ninić (pictured above) already became the very 1st Croatian Air Force pilot ever to fly the Israeli F-16 "Barak" during early training at Ramat David Israeli Air Force Base on April 9th 2018, good to know. (Photo: Jutarnji.hr)









Croatian Military Deploying 2nd Contingent To Nato Defence Mission In Poland




Another 100 Croatian soldiers are on their way to Poland. Image: Kristina, Štedul-Fabac/Pixsell.hr





And since already on the military topic, I should quickly mention this latest updated information. A farewell ceremony was given in the eastern town of Vinkovci just days ago for 100 members of Croatia's Guards Armoured and Mechanized Brigade who are travelling to Poland to join Nato's Enhanced Forward Presence mission.

The ceremony was also attended by Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Šundov. The purpose of deployment of the 2nd Croatian Contingent to Poland was to strengthen Nato's collective deterrent and defence on the alliance's eastern wing, aka Nato's "Enhanced Forward Presence" mission. Since the Russian annexation of Crimea and parts of Ukraine, there has arisen the possibility that the same attempt may be made against the Baltic countries and/or Poland by Russian forces and also by their Serb allies arriving from Kosovo, Libya, Britain and Canada. (Poland's Armed Forces Day, (Polish: Święto Wojska Polskiego), is a national holiday celebrated annually on 15 August in Poland that celebrates stopping a previous attempt, commemorating the anniversary of the 1920 victory over Soviet Russia and Bolsheviks at the Battle of Warsaw during the Polish–Soviet War).





Croatian artillery soldiers assigned to Volcano Battery load a rocket into their Vulkan M-92 Mobile Multiple Rocket Launcher, while participating in squadron live fire exercises near the Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, March 25, 2018. Image: facebook.com/NatoBGPoland.




Already since October 2017, Croatian Volcano Battery was the newest allied force to join Battle Group Poland. The Croatian Volcano Battery adds its capabilities in support of 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment-Wolfpack. These capabilities include a battery-size contingent and four Vulkan M-92s. The Vulkan M-92 is a Croatian modified mobile multiple rocket launcher that fires 122-mm rockets, capable of engaging targets up to 13 miles. This added force multiplier enhances freedom of movement for 3rd Squadron

The Croatian army participates to two of the four NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups in the Baltic Region, by participating in the mission Croatia was reaffirming its solidarity with its partners and proving that it was a credible member of the alliance committed to its common goals.








A second Croatian contingent, composed of 100 troops from Guards Armoured Mechanized Brigade, received a farewell ceremony before deploying to Poland as part of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence mission. 



The battle squadron has been deployed to North East Poland since October 2017 with the mission to defend Nato's eastern boarder along with three other battle groups positioned in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.





The first Croatian contingent of the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group also deployed to Lithuania in 2017, the mechanized infantry unit of the Tigers Brigade included Patria armoured combat vehicles and other support equipment and vehicles.




In 2017 the Croatian Armed Forces deployed a 187-member Mechanized Company including 15 AMV Patrias to NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania.






Members of the Croatian contingent in Lithuania in 2017 seen with their Croatian manufactured HS Produkt VHS-K2 assault rifles. (Croatian for Višenamjenska Hrvatska Strojnica—"Multifunctional Croatian Machine gun")



An interesting collage themed around the Croatian Military and Special Forces. (I replaced the weird muslim-rap cartel soundtrack with Metallica because it flows better with the video footage and promotes more accurate shooting skills, and because I don't want people to think Croatian soldiers waste precious bullets in bars, clubs and convenience stores because that's not the way they roll, see interesting related Metallica-Croatia-Flag post)





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