Tel Aviv. Israel has failed in its attempt to sell upgraded F-16 used by the Israeli Air Force to Croatia. This enabled France to sign a contract to sell 12 second hand Rafale fighter aircraft to the Croatian Air Force. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said In a statement that the deal will strengthen Croatia’s position as a member of NATO and a partner within the European Union.
The contract is estimated at 1.2 billon US $ and will include 12 French made fighter aircraft. It will include weapon systems and spare parts. France will deliver the first six Rafales in 2024 and the other six in the following year.
In 2018 Israel agreed to sell Croatia F-16 C/D that were phased out of the Israeli Air Force service. The aircraft were offered with a comprehensive upgrade package. The US objected and the deal was cancelled. In 2019 another effort was made to enable the deal but it was not successful. In very advanced stages of the negotiation, Washington vetoed the deal claiming that it has not been notified about the details of the contract .
Washington demanded that all the Israeli systems that have been installed in the aircraft, be removed.
Israel had offered 12 F-16 C (Barak) aircraft in a deal estimated at 500 million US $. The F-16 ACE upgrade was to be performed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in cooperation with some other Israeli industries.
F-16 ACE version is equipped with the IAI/Elta EL/M-2032 Fire Control Radar. This advanced radar with SAR modes offers air-to-air and air-to-ground performance. Targets and relevant data are displayed on the F-16 ACE’s three 5″x7″ colour displays. The upgrade package also included the Elbit systems Helmet Mounted Display system. The F-16 ACE can also be equipped with a variety of weapon systems and sensors.
-The writer is an International Roving Correspondent of the publication.