Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic discussed the potential sale of used Israeli Air Force F-16 fighter jets to Croatia in a deal potentially worth US$500 million.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday.
Israeli newspaper ‘Globes’ reported quoting sources in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) that the sale of the F-16 jets will be within the framework of a tender and that the used F-16s will be worth about $500 million. The number of aircraft for the price was not disclosed.
Croatia has invited a tender to replace its old Mig-21 jets and has received bids from Lockheed Martin for new F-16s, from Greece for used F-16s and from Saab for new Gripen aircraft. Some reports had said earlier that Israel and Saab have been shortlisted.
While the Israeli AF F-16s are decades old, they have been regularly upgraded and come equipped with the latest weapons. The Saab Gripen fighters on the other hand are brand news and the Swedish company is believed to have offered attractive financing options plus a state-of-the-art weapons and communications package.
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
Croatia is looking to purchase fighter aircraft for the countrys air force and is soon expected to send the Request for Proposal to five countries – Sweden, the U.S, South Korea, Israel and Greece
The Croatian military police has launched a corruption probe in the July 2013 purchase of 12 Mikoyan MiG-21 fighter jets after they found five of the aircraft actually belonged to Yemen Air Force. Five of the aircraft purchased were quickly removed from service due to technical problems
Saab has signed a contract with Croatia to supply a coastal surveillance and border protection system. The system has a strategic role to secure the maritime borders of Croatia and is scheduled to be operational by June 2016
Israel has offered its old F-16A/B model trainers upgraded to ACE configuration as a replacement for Croatias MiG-21 fighters. Israel is phasing out its old trainers to accommodate Lockheed Martins F-35A fighter jets which are expected to start delivery to the air force in 2017
The Swedish Government is offering eight Gripen aircraft to the Croatian government. The deal includes a support and training package for pilots and technicians, and a financing solution
Prospects of Saab to sell Gripen fighter jets to Croatia have increased as Zagreb has threatened to cancel its deal to buy 12 used F-16s from Israel if the the latter does not confirm the status of the deal within a week. Gripen had earlier been rejected in favor of the used Israeli F-16s but with the United States administration blocking the sale of the jets, Zagreb may have no choice but to go with Saab's offer of new jets combined with a liberal financing package
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