mig21umd
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Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:13 pm

Israeli media is reporting that Israel will sell 12 F-16 Baraks to Croatia for $500 million USD. The leaders of the two counties held a working meeting at Davos where they agreed to push forward with the deal.

Not 100% official yet but it looks like Croatia has made a decision here (finally :bigthumbsup: ).

I'm sure SAAB and Sweden would be disappointed but they would have been closer to double the price of what Israel offered and which by previous reports will be a complete multi-roll platform something which again Croatia would have had to pay more to get the same capability from the Gripen.

So all in all if this does happen than it would be the best option for Croatia in my opinion.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:52 pm

Sad news to my ear but good luck with these used F-16. :conehead:
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:43 pm

The Times of Israel is reporting that the deal includes up to 30 planes. Yikes!

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-ag ... o-croatia/
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 pm

Replacing 12 MiG-21's with 30 F-16's? :o
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:00 pm

Dutchy wrote:
Replacing 12 MiG-21's with 30 F-16's? :o


Two for active duty, and 28 for spares :D.

Though, I'd take that info with a huge grain of salt. 30 jets for USD 500.000.000? That's USD 16.000.000 a pop including armament, spares, support equipment and training. So, that's a fighter - admittedly used - for the price of a mid-size business jet? Really? Or Israeli media trying to spin the whole deal to drum up headlines on a wave of cheap local pride?
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:02 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
Replacing 12 MiG-21's with 30 F-16's? :o


Two for active duty, and 28 for spares :D.

Though, I'd take that info with a huge grain of salt. 30 jets for USD 500.000.000? That's USD 16.000.000 a pop including armament, spares, support equipment and training. So, that's a fighter - admittedly used - for the price of a mid-size business jet? Really? Or Israeli media trying to spin the whole deal to drum up headlines on a wave of cheap local pride?


I think the Dutch sold their old F-16's off for around 10mio a pop, so not unrealistic the 16mio.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:10 pm

Double post, ignore. Can't seem to type properly today!
Last edited by TripleDelta on Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:10 pm

Dutchy wrote:
I think the Dutch sold their old F-16's off for around 10mio a pop, so not unrealistic the 16mio.


Just the jets themselves, or the whole package?

Also bear in mind that switching from a Soviet to Western support infrastructure (not to mention conversion training and associated crew expenses) is a huge financial undertaking.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:54 pm

Switching from the MiG-21 to the F-16 is much more expensive than just selling the jets off to a current operator of the type (or even another Western aircraft); it means going from a Soviet to a NATO style of operations, with the additional caveat of having to have both operating in parallel until the conversion is fully complete. Off the top of my head, some of the issues you have to pay for include:

  • training: you have to train both air and ground crews - that means pilots, instructors, mechanics, planners, emergency teams, operation controllers and so on. Since this will likely not be possible in Croatia, you have to send all those people somewhere abroad - which means paying for their transport, accommodation, food and spending allowance, as well as the people who'll do the instructing, simulators, training flights on actual aircraft and so on
  • ground equipment: tow trucks, fueling trucks, ground starters, cranes, cradles, test benches, light and heavy hand tools... all will have to be bought anew
  • spares: you need engines, pylons, structural components, avionics, weapons systems... none of which is compatible with what is currently in the CroAF inventory. Essentially, you'll have to buy enough spares to pretty much assemble a few jets from parts alone, especially considering that the first few years operations will be far from smooth and more frequent breakdowns are to be anticipated
  • armament: again, nothing the air force currently has is even remotely similar to what the F-16 uses
  • transport: whether disassembled or flown over, transporting the jets is a proper undertaking. The "new" 21s that had been added a few years back were trucked from the Ukraine by road - which wasn't cheap - and then had to be assembled, ground tested and then test flown through numerous sorties to be given the all clear. This costs big money, not to mention taking up a lot of time (during which you still have to keep the MiGs operational)

At USD 16 million a pop, this sounds like a bit of a stretch to be honest. Then there are other issues that need to be considered - not part of the actual buy, but nevertheless further money pits which have to be factored into the equation:

  • infrastructure: all bases where the jets would operate have to be modified and enlarged to accept the F-16, including (very likely) improved FOD control on the runways. Then of course, there are the workshops (if any are envisaged at all), climatic conditions in hangars and whatnot else. While most of this would likely be financed differently (not part of the actual buy), it is still an expenditure to be taken into account

  • disposal: while you can dump the 21s in a remote corner of the base (which is the default modus operandi for the CroAF), you can't do the same with the weapons. You have properly dispose of a vast arsenal of cr*p that had accumulated over the years, which again requires significant funds
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:35 pm

The gov't had gone on record today saying that the decision had NOT been made yet, and that it will be announced as soon as all bids are "carefully considered".

Make of that what you will :).
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:24 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
At USD 16 million a pop, this sounds like a bit of a stretch to be honest. Then there are other issues that need to be considered - not part of the actual buy, but nevertheless further money pits which have to be factored into the equation:

Something to remember is that these aircraft essentially cost Israel nothing. They were paid for through US military aid, as were most of the upgrades that were made to them over their lifetimes. In that context if it is US$500 million for 30 airframes it is not too unrealistic. Noting that Canada paid US$300 million for 18 RAAF Classic Hornets in their current state, for aircraft with likely less hours available but better current capability it doesn't seem outside expectations. I also expect a number of those airframes may be used for spares and delivered in a non flyable condition.
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:01 am

[quote="TripleDelta"]

Two for active duty, and 28 for spares :D.

lol :lol:
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:17 am

It had been mentioned before that the Israeli offer would include a mix fleet of the C/D or Barak mixed with older A/B type. I guess we all assumed that the mix fleet offered would total 12 planes. Could we see Croatia take on 12 Barak along with 18 A/B F-16s which could be a source for spare parts?

Agree with TripleDelta that whatever the final deal is it will be a huge project and undertaking for the Croatian Air force.

One thing I don't doubt here is the professionalism and capability of the guys and girls in the CroAF to see this transformation through. Despite nepotism being alive and well within some parts of Croatian society I don't think it is the case in the military, especially when it comes to the airforce pilots and technicians. The selection criteria is very demanding and they don't seem to falter from this.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:00 am

Ozair wrote:
Something to remember is that these aircraft essentially cost Israel nothing. They were paid for through US military aid, as were most of the upgrades that were made to them over their lifetimes. In that context if it is US$500 million for 30 airframes it is not too unrealistic.


The fact that they cost nothing does not prevent Israel from "earning a quick buck" on their sale. The last thing we'll see in this whole deal is altruism.

Ozair wrote:
Noting that Canada paid US$300 million for 18 RAAF Classic Hornets in their current state, for aircraft with likely less hours available but better current capability it doesn't seem outside expectations. I also expect a number of those airframes may be used for spares and delivered in a non flyable condition.


The key difference here is that Canada bought an aircraft type it already has in its inventory. At the moment they took the Oz birds in, they already had the necessary ground infrastructure, armament, spares, training, tools and so on.

Croatia taking on the F-16 is financially a whole different kettle of fish. For the Air Force, switching from the MiG-21 to the F-16 is like going from a piston airliner to a modern jet; it requires a complete change of thinking and infrastructure to make it work.

mig21umd wrote:
One thing I don't doubt here is the professionalism and capability of the guys and girls in the CroAF to see this transformation through. Despite nepotism being alive and well within some parts of Croatian society I don't think it is the case in the military, especially when it comes to the airforce pilots and technicians. The selection criteria is very demanding and they don't seem to falter from this.


Pilots: yes
Mechs: yes
Bigwigs: hell no. They'll turn the whole deal into a complete and proper mess, like they always do
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:08 am

TripleDelta wrote:

The fact that they cost nothing does not prevent Israel from "earning a quick buck" on their sale. The last thing we'll see in this whole deal is altruism.

Sure, my point was that the low price can be offerred because of that nil initital cost.

TripleDelta wrote:
The key difference here is that Canada bought an aircraft type it already has in its inventory. At the moment they took the Oz birds in, they already had the necessary ground infrastructure, armament, spares, training, tools and so on.

Again sure but Croatia is changing everything no matter which option they chose. The Canadian purchase was to reference a similai number of aircraft within a similar timeframe.

TripleDelta wrote:
Croatia taking on the F-16 is financially a whole different kettle of fish. For the Air Force, switching from the MiG-21 to the F-16 is like going from a piston airliner to a modern jet; it requires a complete change of thinking and infrastructure to make it work.

I don't think the change is that great. Plenty of other air forces have managed that transition and the global support base for the F-16 is huge so there is plenty of industrial knowledge available.
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:11 am

Ozair wrote:
I don't think the change is that great. Plenty of other air forces have managed that transition and the global support base for the F-16 is huge so there is plenty of industrial knowledge available.


For a small air force that is so cash strapped that it is forced to operate the MiG-21 almost into 2020, it is a very big change - especially financially.

And support may be world-class - but it still has to be paid for. That is the whole issue: paying for the transition, not doing the transition itself. And given the amount of change needed for the whole CroAF, the bill is going to be huge for Croatian standards.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:49 pm

In the mean time, the Croatian MoD is trying to pressure its Ukrainian counterpart into supplying further MiGs - but as compensation for the poor quality of work done on five additional jets bought from Ukrspecexport in 2013 (when the existing fleet was undergoing overhaul in the Ukraine). Four of these have been grounded for months, reportedly due to a high number of quality issues and in-flight system failures. The MoD now wants the Ukrainian government to replace though machines with fresh jets (fully serviced and guaranteed by the government itself) so the fleet could be brought back to its declared 12-ship strength.

Since pushing for the completion of the squadron just as you're preparing to scrap it makes little sense even by Balkan standards, this could very well mean that the final choice for the MiG replacement could still be a while off...
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:22 am

TripleDelta wrote:
Since pushing for the completion of the squadron just as you're preparing to scrap it makes little sense even by Balkan standards, this could very well mean that the final choice for the MiG replacement could still be a while off...


Maybe but the first 'new' jets planned to be delivered from 2020 through to 2022 so the extra 4 MIG jets if they get them could be useful to ensure a capability exists until the new squadron is fully operational.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:58 pm

mig21umd wrote:
Maybe but the first 'new' jets planned to be delivered from 2020 through to 2022 so the extra 4 MIG jets if they get them could be useful to ensure a capability exists until the new squadron is fully operational.


Entirely possible; but even here you can find a counter-argument. The fleet has been operating with roughly the same (reduced) capacity for five years now, and had at all times been able to perform its primary function - albeit just. What's more, all usable jets have these past few weeks been out and about nearly every day, so it's not like they're so strapped for aircraft/pilots/remaining flight time that they're limited solely to the most basic air policing.

If they've been able to operate in this manner since 2013, is it such a stretch to continue for two years more until the first new aircraft arrive in 2020 - especially since in 2019 they possibly wouldn't even have enough pilots available to crew all 12 jets given conversion training for the new type?
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:25 pm

What's more, talks on this matter had started only very recently according to the press. Given that the Ukrainian gov't will naturally fight to protect its own interests, we're looking at a protracted see-saw legal battle that could last many months; and then, even if the Croatian MoD does get its way, it'll take several more for the jets to be refitted to CroAF standards (including the installation of equipment to enable them to operate in civil airspace). By that time, 2020 will either be imminent or already in progress, which makes pushing for those four MiGs completely pointless - unless 2020 is not expected to be achieved.

There's also another problem to consider: the Ukrainian MoD is well aware of the 2020 target - so it is in its interest to delay replacing those four jets as long as possible until the whole issue becomes moot. The Croatian MoD is surely aware of this; if it is really willing to move forward on this matter, it is possible that they believe nothing much will happen by 2020.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:51 am

I would wonder if Ukraine would be in a position to give away 4 Mig-21s. Not sure if they used this capability during the recent conflict but by no means that war has come to a complete end and a number of overhauled fighters could be against their national interest to give away. This could just be a way of Croatia trying to secure some type of compensation for the recent overhaul fiasco but a few extra Migs if they can get them in a reasonable amount of time.... why not?
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:20 am

mig21umd wrote:
I would wonder if Ukraine would be in a position to give away 4 Mig-21s. Not sure if they used this capability during the recent conflict but by no means that war has come to a complete end and a number of overhauled fighters could be against their national interest to give away. This could just be a way of Croatia trying to secure some type of compensation for the recent overhaul fiasco but a few extra Migs if they can get them in a reasonable amount of time.... why not?


That's roughly what the MoD wants them to do, as reported by the media: take the four problematic ones back and supply Croatia with four different examples, all at no additional cost.

As for the strategic impact, the Ukraine has far more potent machinery in its inventory to be bothered by losing a few MiG-21s (which it doesn't even operate anymore).
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:28 am

TripleDelta wrote:
mig21umd wrote:
I would wonder if Ukraine would be in a position to give away 4 Mig-21s. Not sure if they used this capability during the recent conflict but by no means that war has come to a complete end and a number of overhauled fighters could be against their national interest to give away. This could just be a way of Croatia trying to secure some type of compensation for the recent overhaul fiasco but a few extra Migs if they can get them in a reasonable amount of time.... why not?


That's roughly what the MoD wants them to do, as reported by the media: take the four problematic ones back and supply Croatia with four different examples, all at no additional cost.

As for the strategic impact, the Ukraine has far more potent machinery in its inventory to be bothered by losing a few MiG-21s (which it doesn't even operate anymore).


Correct, Ukraine has retired MiG-21 years ago, and apparently there are no trained pilots, nor support infrastructure for the type. So, there's close to 0 probability of Ukraine stalling Croatians, just for the sake of grabbing those MiG-21 and pressing them into service.
On the other hand, aircraft maintenance facilities (e.g. Konotop) are busy reactivating equipment after years (decades, rather) of neglect, and are overworked with critically important programs.
This Croatian request for remanufacture of additional MiG-21s, that are due to be retired within a couple of years from now, would look capricious to anyone who manages repair facilities, in the face of real, front-line needs. In a triage, it goes to the bottom of the list.

If one looks for an ulterior motive in Ukrainian posture, I could postulate that once Croatians get F-16's up and running, the question of disposal of surplus Croatian weaponry of MiG era could be on UkrOboronProm's mind -- they could graciously accept, for free, or with a nominal recycling fee, all operational rockets and other weapons stocks (maybe also spare parts?) from Croatia. With a goal of going through them, and salvaging whatever systems and components could still make sense.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:52 pm

The media is now saying that the decision should be made within one and a half months... by the same defense council that had been shot down the last time.

Further details of the Israeli offer had also begun to emerge - key among which is Israel's desire to set up a F-16 training center at ZAD, complete with a full-motion sim. They're also interested in buying out the country's biggest aircraft maintenance facility - the ZTC works next to ZAG - and turning it into a regional F-16 service depot.

Other bits include investment into agriculture, shipbuilding, tourism and the energy and IT sectors. Of particular interest is Israel's stated desire to cooperate with local universities and companies in the fields of robotics, explosive ordnance removal and cyber security (with the development of protection from drones having been singled out). Elbit is also keen on establishing a factory for infantry-type munitions.

More interesting than all of this is that the details of SAAB's offer (the only realistic alternative at this point) have not been made public. All of the info above has been published in the media without citing any sources - which suggest that it did not come from official MoD channels.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:16 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
The media is now saying that the decision should be made within one and a half months... by the same defense council that had been shot down the last time.

Further details of the Israeli offer had also begun to emerge - key among which is Israel's desire to set up a F-16 training center at ZAD, complete with a full-motion sim. They're also interested in buying out the country's biggest aircraft maintenance facility - the ZTC works next to ZAG - and turning it into a regional F-16 service depot.

Makes sense although who do we expect to get their F-16s serviced in Croatia?

TripleDelta wrote:
Other bits include investment into agriculture, shipbuilding, tourism and the energy and IT sectors. Of particular interest is Israel's stated desire to cooperate with local universities and companies in the fields of robotics, explosive ordnance removal and cyber security (with the development of protection from drones having been singled out). Elbit is also keen on establishing a factory for infantry-type munitions.

More interesting than all of this is that the details of SAAB's offer (the only realistic alternative at this point) have not been made public. All of the info above has been published in the media without citing any sources - which suggest that it did not come from official MoD channels.

LOL, Israel is outSaabing Saab with the industry and university cooperation...
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:06 am

Ozair wrote:
Makes sense although who do we expect to get their F-16s serviced in Croatia?


Possibly Bulgaria and Romania once their fleets are operational - even though the latter does have a developed maintenance industry of its own. Apart from them (and Greece), the nearest F-16 operator is Poland, which also has more than enough capability to do the work itself. I had thought that maybe Israel is trying to secure a foothold on the Balkans so that it can pitch the F-16 to other operators looking to modernize their forces... but the only country in the region that has the funds and infrastructure to support fast jets is Serbia.

Ozair wrote:
LOL, Israel is outSaabing Saab with the industry and university cooperation...


Possible... but without official info (and details of SAAB's offer), this could very well be a PR spin by Israel or bits of the MoD that favor the F-16 deal.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:06 am

I know you might have some reservations to this TripleDelta :) but after being disappointed when a decision wasn't made by the end of last year, I am now starting to like the way the Croatian government is handling the purchase of the new jets. It seems to me that if they do make a decision than it would be the best possible outcome considering the parameters they have set and the "kickbacks" look to be all transparent, legal and will benefit large parts of a variety of Croatian industries. It may take a few years to realise but new jets for the air force could eventually see a positive financial outcome for Croatia. So as long a decision is made in 6 week’s time and not deferred again, than I think the government deserves a tick for this one.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:40 pm

The news are reporting that the decision has been made, and that it'll be made to the public next week.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:20 am

TripleDelta wrote:
The news are reporting that the decision has been made, and that it'll be made to the public next week.

I know you and MiG-21umd are hot on news for this but wondered if anything had been released locally yet?
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:01 am

Ozair wrote:
I know you and MiG-21umd are hot on news for this but wondered if anything had been released locally yet?


Nothing at all... despite the "next week" deadline having long passed.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:57 pm

Initial reports say that the committee tasked with reviewing all bids had recommended the purchase of F-16C and D models from Israel. The gov't still has to make the final call, but the general mood is that the deal is all but done.
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mig21umd
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:37 pm

Looks like the recent delays were because Croatia was waiting on guarantees from the US that Israel could sell the F-16's to Croatia and that the US based support would be available if needed to Croatia. Expecting it will be officially announced today or sometime this week. (hope I didn't just jinx it) :bigthumbsup:

https://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/hrvatsk ... o/7170702/
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:11 pm

And it's official: the F-16 is being recommended, which just leaves the government to give the final approval.
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Ozair
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:52 pm

mig21umd wrote:
Looks like the recent delays were because Croatia was waiting on guarantees from the US that Israel could sell the F-16's to Croatia and that the US based support would be available if needed to Croatia. Expecting it will be officially announced today or sometime this week. (hope I didn't just jinx it) :bigthumbsup:

https://www.jutarnji.hr/vijesti/hrvatsk ... o/7170702/

TripleDelta wrote:
And it's official: the F-16 is being recommended, which just leaves the government to give the final approval.

Good news, I think that represents the best blend of capability and price for Croatia and they should get at a minimum a good 20 years of service and support out of the airframes.
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:26 am

https://www.tportal.hr/vijesti/clanak/p ... o-20180409

https://www.tportal.hr/vijesti/clanak/p ... o-20180409

Croatian Pilot has test flown an Israeli F-16 Barak.

Well this didn't take long. Sorry in Croatian but there is a video and some pictures.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:57 am

Croatia selected 12 F-16 Barak's last year from Israel last year for around $500 million USD which included 2 simulators and a weapons and training package (great deal if you ask me) and an offset agreement where it was reported Israel would build a munitions factory in Croatia and invest in Croatia's IT sector.

But the deal has run into a bit of a big hurdle the past few weeks, (Lockheed Martin and the USA). They are claiming Israel unfairly offered boosted up with modern tech F-16's at a third of the cost against what was one of the final 5 bidders the F-16 block 70/72.

Apparently the US wants the F-16 to be delivered to Croatia the way the were delivered to Israel, so minus all the upgrades before they approve the sale. Croatia is demanding a solution be found by year end otherwise they could cancel the deal but Croatia seem to want the aircraft they originally agreed to with Israel or again, the deal could be in jeopardy meaning Israel and the US have to find a solution which would allow the original deal to go ahead without Croatia incurring any extra costs.

So the Mig-21 replacement saga continues but at least, from what I can tell Croatia is still committed to maintaining a fighter fleet for their air force and was very serious about taking on the F-16 Barak.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:46 am

mig21umd wrote:
Croatia selected 12 F-16 Barak's last year from Israel last year for around $500 million USD which included 2 simulators and a weapons and training package (great deal if you ask me) and an offset agreement where it was reported Israel would build a munitions factory in Croatia and invest in Croatia's IT sector.


It's a pretty poor deal - the worst of all - as it turned during the whole issue. All of the jets are 30 years old (barely 5 or 6 younger than the current MiGs) and they've all reached the ends of their original service lives. The only way they can be made airworthy is through a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), that would give them 3000 flight hours more before they'd need to be scrapped. It is also reported that they're pretty worn out in general, and that some appeared to have seen combat action regularly.

Additonally, a number of irregularities in the bidding process have been discovered, including that the Minister of Defense was a board member at the company that was given the job of importing the jets (where he can return following the end of his term) - and that a key member of the committee that selected the Israeli bid is the Croatian representative of Elbit, one of the parties set to make a whole lot of money on this deal.

mig21umd wrote:
and was very serious about taking on the F-16 Barak.


... with the sole intent that the dirty laundry of the buy stays buried, since this whole deal has weakened the already precarious position of the government.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:22 am

The mood is turning anti-fighter around here - even among the die hard flag-wavers. The average income is one of the lowest in the EU - but the tax rates are one of the highest. Public services are in a downward spiral due to severe budget cuts (one hospital near Zagreb could not even afford sufficient suture kits!), and the general quality of life is worser by the day.

In this climate, the government decides to buy fighter jets that will (like the current ones) be paper tigers only - and then gives a ton of taxpayer money to a self-serving clique intent on lining their own pockets by buying someone else's unwanted trash.

You can probaby imagine how this would ruffle feathers among the general population. When new jets were in the running, opinions were still split; indeed, a modern fleet that would serve for several decades was seen by many as a long-term investment. However, now that the details are out, even vocal supporters of the buy were forced to concede that the whole deal is Croatia's "business as usual".
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:40 pm

Another twist in the story: the local media are reporting that the F-16 sale has been put to Congress, where it is soon due to be voted on. However, the price for the whole arrangement quoted by the US DoD is just USD 135.000.000 vs. the USD 500.000.000 figure pitched to the Croatian public. Both prices apparently include exactly the same items, namely "F-16C/D Block 30 aircraft, munitions, spare parts, support equipment, simulator and crew training".

This is causing increased uproar locally, since questions are now being raised as to where those remaining USD 365.000.000 would be going to. There are rumblings even about collusion and attempt to defraud the state. While this could just be politics at play, the circumstances certainly suggest the deal is not as squeaky clean as it was made out to be:

  • the company tasked with importing the jets is actually an IT supplier; they had only recently amended their registration to include aircraft import and maintenance (with which they have absolutely no known experience)
  • the current defense minister - who restarted the MiG replacement tender - was formerly an executive at the same company, and is not barred by regulations from returning to that post following the end of his tenure as minister
  • one of the key members of the committee formed to pick the best offer is the local representative of Elbit Systems, which is one of the partners in Israel's bid
  • despite having had the option, the government did not ask for what's called the Best And Final Offer (BAFO), selecting Israel's bit outright

Should be an interesting month ahead...
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mig21umd
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:50 pm

Looks like the deal has been cancelled.

The Israeli defense minister will reportedly travel to Zagreb sometime this week to inform his counter part that Israel will not be able to sell the agreed 12 F-16 Barak's, 2 simulators and weapons and training package due to objections from the United States who have not approved the deal. The Americans claim Israel had an unfair advantage over their own bid by Lockheed Martin and will only approve the sale if the Barak's are returned to their original (upgraded) state.

Interestingly Australia at this time is looking to sell 25 FA-18's to Canada which has requested them as a stopgap measure because they cancelled the Super Hornet purchase from Boeing following a trade dispute. I wonder if the Americans will prevent this especially since the Aussie hornets have been heavily upgraded too and they will replace what was going to be an agreed order?
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:07 pm

mig21umd wrote:
Looks like the deal has been cancelled.

The Israeli defense minister will reportedly travel to Zagreb sometime this week to inform his counter part that Israel will not be able to sell the agreed 12 F-16 Barak's, 2 simulators and weapons and training package due to objections from the United States who have not approved the deal. The Americans claim Israel had an unfair advantage over their own bid by Lockheed Martin and will only approve the sale if the Barak's are returned to their original (upgraded) state.

Interestingly Australia at this time is looking to sell 25 FA-18's to Canada which has requested them as a stopgap measure because they cancelled the Super Hornet purchase from Boeing following a trade dispute. I wonder if the Americans will prevent this especially since the Aussie hornets have been heavily upgraded too and they will replace what was going to be an agreed order?

The Australian Hornet sale to Canada has been approved. While the RAAF Hornets were upgraded to a higher standard than the RCAF Hornets the RCAF at least already operates the type so it isn't like they are getting something new or different. The RCAF also never formally ordered the Super Hornet.

Unfortunately for Croatia they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Baraks were almost certainly the better deal and I think the US is doing themselves a disservice by blocking this sale but the agreements in place for sale and export of US fighter jets is very clear. The US retains ownership of the IP and can block these sales when and if they want to and this is something that Israel agreed to and has continued to agree to.
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:33 pm

Ozair wrote:
mig21umd wrote:
Looks like the deal has been cancelled.

The Israeli defense minister will reportedly travel to Zagreb sometime this week to inform his counter part that Israel will not be able to sell the agreed 12 F-16 Barak's, 2 simulators and weapons and training package due to objections from the United States who have not approved the deal. The Americans claim Israel had an unfair advantage over their own bid by Lockheed Martin and will only approve the sale if the Barak's are returned to their original (upgraded) state.

Interestingly Australia at this time is looking to sell 25 FA-18's to Canada which has requested them as a stopgap measure because they cancelled the Super Hornet purchase from Boeing following a trade dispute. I wonder if the Americans will prevent this especially since the Aussie hornets have been heavily upgraded too and they will replace what was going to be an agreed order?

The Australian Hornet sale to Canada has been approved. While the RAAF Hornets were upgraded to a higher standard than the RCAF Hornets the RCAF at least already operates the type so it isn't like they are getting something new or different. The RCAF also never formally ordered the Super Hornet.

Unfortunately for Croatia they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Baraks were almost certainly the better deal and I think the US is doing themselves a disservice by blocking this sale but the agreements in place for sale and export of US fighter jets is very clear. The US retains ownership of the IP and can block these sales when and if they want to and this is something that Israel agreed to and has continued to agree to.

So is there still a chance for the Gripen or will Croatia most likely go for Lockheeds F-16 offer instead? In any case, this certainly pushed back the delivery of any new jets by quite a bit.
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:50 pm

mxaxai wrote:
So is there still a chance for the Gripen or will Croatia most likely go for Lockheeds F-16 offer instead? In any case, this certainly pushed back the delivery of any new jets by quite a bit.

I would not discount the Gripen at all, it has a good chance now in Croatia and increasing in Bulgaria as well. From what TripleDelta and mig21umd have been saying makes it sound like Croatia could even chose not to do anything and either sit with the old capability or even potentially end fast jets ops. I am sure NATO would try to prevent Croatia leaving fast jets ops though as this is seen as a viable means of participating in Coalitions and self-defence.
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:22 am

Ozair wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
So is there still a chance for the Gripen or will Croatia most likely go for Lockheeds F-16 offer instead? In any case, this certainly pushed back the delivery of any new jets by quite a bit.

I would not discount the Gripen at all, it has a good chance now in Croatia and increasing in Bulgaria as well. From what TripleDelta and mig21umd have been saying makes it sound like Croatia could even chose not to do anything and either sit with the old capability or even potentially end fast jets ops. I am sure NATO would try to prevent Croatia leaving fast jets ops though as this is seen as a viable means of participating in Coalitions and self-defence.



It has become a major mess especially since the Croatian public are not really keen to see any major capital expenditure of this nature and I think the F-16 Barak offer was selected because of how affordable it looked and how much was actually offered even though the public didn't see it this way.
Most of the press supported a new jet mainly because of the problems the 'overhauled' Mig-21s faced but if you listen to what people in the air force say they claim that it is becoming almost impossible to find parts for the Mig's and this is why many have been grounded and used a a source of parts.
I don't think Croatian Air force will lose its fast jet capability but I would agree they are in a very difficult situation. SAAB may not do Croatia any favors now that there isn't really another viable alternative unless you consider Korea's FA-50. Also, the Gripen may not be too popular in some military circles because they fear the Swedish government could automatically remove support for the jets in times of conflict.

Personally I think this deal failed because of Trump protectionist policies and I think Israel convinced Croatia that they could secure all approvals from their good mates. You can see how much pressure the US has put on Bulgaria and the Slovak Republic to buy American jets so imagine if the US did allow Croatia to get the Barak a 4+ generation fighters for 1/3 of the price of new F-16s how could they than stop the likes of Bulgaria and Slovakia buying these jets too?

But it does raise an interesting question, why doesn't Croatia, along with these 2 countries put a joint request for new fighters to try to reduce costs?
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:24 am

mig21umd wrote:
Personally I think this deal failed because of Trump protectionist policies and I think Israel convinced Croatia that they could secure all approvals from their good mates. You can see how much pressure the US has put on Bulgaria and the Slovak Republic to buy American jets so imagine if the US did allow Croatia to get the Barak a 4+ generation fighters for 1/3 of the price of new F-16s how could they than stop the likes of Bulgaria and Slovakia buying these jets too?


The deal failed squarely because of the charlatanism and shady business practices of the Croatian MoD (some examples, as previously mentioned, include paying almost three times as much than the jets are actually worth; assigning the task of importing and maintaining the jets (without a tender) to a company in which the minister of defense had previously been a board member and where he can return once his term is up; one of the key members of the committee that selected the Baraks being the Croatian representative of Elbit Systems; and so on).

Even more so, the minister of defense is on record publicly stating that Croatia had all the required permits from the US - while in reality it only just received the basic OKs to include Baraks in the original bid. Oh, and who could forget a recent gem when a current MiG-21 pilot - also part of the task force formed to root for the Baraks - said on live TV "I believe in God, not paperwork" when confronted with questions about the absence of necessary permits and documents.
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:23 pm

TripleDelta wrote:
mig21umd wrote:
Personally I think this deal failed because of Trump protectionist policies and I think Israel convinced Croatia that they could secure all approvals from their good mates. You can see how much pressure the US has put on Bulgaria and the Slovak Republic to buy American jets so imagine if the US did allow Croatia to get the Barak a 4+ generation fighters for 1/3 of the price of new F-16s how could they than stop the likes of Bulgaria and Slovakia buying these jets too?


The deal failed squarely because of the charlatanism and shady business practices of the Croatian MoD (some examples, as previously mentioned, include paying almost three times as much than the jets are actually worth; assigning the task of importing and maintaining the jets (without a tender) to a company in which the minister of defense had previously been a board member and where he can return once his term is up; one of the key members of the committee that selected the Baraks being the Croatian representative of Elbit Systems; and so on).

Even more so, the minister of defense is on record publicly stating that Croatia had all the required permits from the US - while in reality it only just received the basic OKs to include Baraks in the original bid. Oh, and who could forget a recent gem when a current MiG-21 pilot - also part of the task force formed to root for the Baraks - said on live TV "I believe in God, not paperwork" when confronted with questions about the absence of necessary permits and documents.


The deal failed because the US did not approve the purchase otherwise the deal would still be going ahead and everything you wrote regarding possible corruption would still have happened regardless. You can argue however that the Croatian air force has lost another year or two finding a 21 replacement because of Croatian government incompetence and corruption.

I still remember 12 months ago there was the original leak that the Israeli won, then there was nothing for a few weeks and then it was reported that Croatia was waiting for the US to OK the deal, and then the announcement was made. Sometime in this period between the leak and the announcement I think the Israeli's, probably even Netanyahu gave a personal guarantee and told the Croatian government that they would get the US to approve the deal. Their biggest mistake was believing this and as you stated lying about it. But I really believe that without a Trump government (and I don't mind Trump so I'm not Trump bashing here lol) with the type of trade policies he is implementing, they probably could have got the US to approve the deal so I think the deal was in the end a victim of circumstance.

Everything else being reported about possible corruption, deals with certain firms and MIG-21 pilots rooting for the Barak (the same pilot always said he favored the Gripen or FA-50 on TV and this just last week too) is important but irrelevant to the outcome of the final decision because if true, it would have unfortunately happened anyway.

Just another note on what you wrote regarding the value of the jets. This US congress quoted price is the value of the jets the way the US wants them delivered to Croatia. Zero air frame hours and all the upgrades removed so it is not correct to say that Croatia agreed to pay 3 times more than what they are worth because the deal included aircraft with 3000 hours of air frame flight hours remaining (After air frame upgrade), simulators, weapons, training and support.

Croatia can pay 125 million for 12 American stored F-16's but they then have to be brought back to life and still you have to pay for all the extra's like pilot training, simulators, weapons etc.... (I highly doubt that for 125 million you would get everything the Israelis were offering too as stated above by TripleDelta...... How could the US than argue the Israelis had an 'unfair advantage'?)
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:47 pm

mig21umd wrote:
The deal failed because the US did not approve the purchase otherwise the deal would still be going ahead and everything you wrote regarding possible corruption would still have happened regardless. You can argue however that the Croatian air force has lost another year or two finding a 21 replacement because of Croatian government incompetence and corruption.


The deal failed because nobody in the Croatian government thought things out; like always, they believed they could just outmaneuver everybody at the last minute and improvise along the way. Had the selection process been on a better footing, the Baraks would not have even been selected before all (or at least most) guarantees were in, especially since US approvals in these matters are all well known. Had the process been transparent and with national (as opposed to personal) interests in mind, a backup option would have been in place if the approvals would not be granted - especially if all they had to go on was "Israel's good word".

mig21umd wrote:
Everything else being reported about possible corruption, deals with certain firms and MIG-21 pilots rooting for the Barak (the same pilot always said he favored the Gripen or FA-50 on TV and this just last week too) is important but irrelevant to the outcome of the final decision because if true, it would have unfortunately happened anyway.


It is very relevant - since it reveals the nature of the purchase and the mechanism behind it. The goal was not to replace the MiGs with a better solution - but to line the pockets of a select few both in Croatia and Israel. On these problems alone the purchase would have ran into problems, even if US approval had been granted (as had happened before).

mig21umd wrote:
Just another note on what you wrote regarding the value of the jets. This US congress quoted price is the value of the jets the way the US wants them delivered to Croatia. Zero air frame hours and all the upgrades removed so it is not correct to say that Croatia agreed to pay 3 times more than what they are worth because the deal included aircraft with 3000 hours (After air frame upgrade), simulators, weapons, training and support.

Croatia can pay 125 million for 12 American stored F-16's but they then have to be brought back to life and still you have to pay for all the extra's like pilot training, simulators, weapons etc.... (I highly doubt that for 125 million you would get everything the Israelis were offering too as stated above by TripleDelta...... How could the US than argue the Israelis had an 'unfair advantage'?)


Official US documents passed to the press stated that the value of the entire package (post SLEP) was USD 135 million. So that included overhauled jets in their original Block 30 configuration, equipment, spares, armament, sims and whatnot else; minus Israeli equipment the same thing that Croatia would have bought for USD 500 million. If the equipment installed by the IAF costs three times as much as the entire fleet, then I do hope Baraks come equipped with Warp capabilities and cloaking devices...
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Ozair
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:46 pm

Well the deal to acquire Israeli F-16s has been cancelled due to Israel not being able to receive the correct transfer approvals and it looks like the competition will be re-run.

Croatia backtracks on decision to buy Israeli jets. What went wrong?

The Croatian government has cancelled its decision to purchase used F-16C/D Barak fighters from Israel, the Defence Ministry said in a Jan. 14 statement.

The move follows a recommendation by the Croatian Defence Council that authorities relaunch the procurement step of its fighter jet acquisition program, set up to replace the country’s outdated Mikoyan MiG-21 fighters. The council is comprised of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, and a number of senior government, parliamentary and military officials.

After a thorough analysis of the canceled procurement, Plenkovic’s cabinet will “define a new model” of acquiring fighter jets for the Croatian Air Force, the prime minister said.

Prior to the cancellation, Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said in a statement that “Israel has … unfortunately officially informed the Ministry of Defence that it is unable to receive the adequate [third-party transfer] approval for the delivery of Israeli F-16 Barak aircraft to the Republic of Croatia.”

Earlier this month, the Croatian government said it had given “Israel a deadline on its capability to deliver the aircraft offered at the international tender” and that Israel was “responsible for obtaining the approval from the United States for the supply of the aircraft.”

Croatian officials have told local media the U.S. government accused its Israeli counterpart of unfair competition in the tender, in which the U.S. had offered Croatia secondhand F-16s. Other bidders included Greece, which offered used F-16s, and Sweden, which offered JAS 39 Gripen fighters.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/01 ... ent-wrong/
 
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Re: Croatia selects Israeli F-16s to replace their Mig-21s.

Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:36 pm

mig21umd wrote:
Personally I think this deal failed because of Trump protectionist policies and I think Israel convinced Croatia that they could secure all approvals from their good mates.


The plot thickens further: a few days ago, two e-mails sent by the US Embassy in Zagreb to the Croatian MoD had been leaked. The first message - dated 6 December 2017 - explicitly states that Lockheed-Martin had NOT given Israel the necessary approvals, and that - based on communication between LM and the Pentagon - it likely never will.

The second message - from 18 January 2018 - included the so-called "non-paper", which laid out in detail all the requirements needed to get Third Party Transfer approval (including the removal of Israeli tech), urging Croatia to review them once again before deciding which offer to accept.

Up until the leak, the President, PM and MoD had all adamantly denied that any such communication took place, and went on record time and time again stating that all US approvals have been received. Following the leak, the MoD had not disputed the authenticity of the e-mails, and is now backpedaling at a rate that would shame most Olympic medal winners. Given that with each knee-jerk attempt to victimize themselves they're just digging a bigger hole, it is entirely possible that more dirty laundry will be aired soon...

EDIT: so, to recap:

  • the government knew a year in advance what LM's general mood was
  • the government knew a year in advance that any US approval would be conditional to Israeli tech being removed
  • the government outright lied on both issues, stating that all approvals are in the bag
  • no Best And Final Offer was ever sought
  • no backup option was in place in case all approvals fell through
  • the job of importing the jets was given to an IT company where the current minister of defense was previously a board member, and which had registered an aircraft support business just days prior
  • one of the key members of the committee that selected the Israeli offer is the Croatian representative of Elbit Systems, a key supplier of Barak avionics
  • the US DoD valued the deal at USD 135.000.000 vs the USD 500.000.000 that would have been paid to Israel for exactly the same package

I can exactly see why the big bad US is to blame here...
Hawkeye: "It doesn't make any sense."
Radar: "Well, none of it makes any sense. You just have to send in the right number of forms." - MASH 4077

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