Croatia has shortlisted used Israeli Air Force F-16s and new Saab Gripens to replace its old MiG-21 fighter jets.
The shortlist emerged from a list that included new F-16s from the US and used Greek F-16s, according a broadcast from a local TV station reported last week.
Israel is bidding to sell the Croatian air force upgraded second-hand F-16 combat aircraft. US and Greek bids have been discarded, a local TV station reports.
Last month, Croatia’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) had shortlisted four bids; new F-16s from Lockheed Martin, second-hand F-16s from Israel and Greece, Swedish Saab’s Gripen aircraft.
Croatia plans to replace its aging MiG-21 fighters with new ones.
According to a Croatian government official, the US bid at $120 million per aircraft is too expensive, and it is unclear why the Greek bid has been discarded. It may well be that the F-16 fighter aircraft being offered by Israel have been upgraded with leading edge technological systems. These include Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) ELTA's Barak radar system and Elbit Systems color cockpit display systems and pilots' helmets with an on-going data feed. IAI is the upgrade contractor.
The Israeli F-16s can also be equipped with advanced Israeli weapons systems including the Python air-to-air missile produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.