President Milanović: We’re Purchasing Rafale Fighter Jets to Make Croatia and Those Who Fly Them More Secure

18. June 2021.

The President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović took part in an aviator badges presentation ceremony to the 25th generation of Croatian Air Force pilots in the “Pukovnik Marko Živković“ barracks at Pleso.

Congratulating the pilots on successfully completing their studies, President Milanović told them that “your youth, your strong productive years will be marked by flying of which I have always been in awe”. In the presence of the new air force pilots, the President talked about the procurement of fighter jets.

“Today, in accordance with a Government decision and the money of the Croatian people, we are close to the point of finalizing the procurement of the most modern or nearly most modern aircraft that no one in our neighbourhood has”, President Milanović stated. He underscored that this is the right moment and the right period in our more recent history to obtain and secure something that will serve Croatia the next twenty or thirty years with the money that in reality represents less than the budget of the city of Zagreb. “This is a very long period. Our state will last much longer than that, but this is something that waited for the right moment and that moment has come”, he noted.

The President recalled that in the past Croatia had to procure its fighter aircraft under totally different circumstances. Referring to the procurement of fighter aircraft during the Homeland War, he said: “At that time it was possible to procure such things only thanks to the competence, ingenuity, even insolence of the people who led Croatia and who defended it from the aggressors and occupying forces. That was the only way to lead the country and all the praise goes to those who succeeded during conditions of an unfair and dishonourable embargo that was forced upon Croatia. Croatia and its leaders had to be ingenious for something that meant the difference between life and death, freedom and lack of freedom. Thanks to them for that”, the President said.

“Now we are entering a new period and you will be proud. It’ll be prestigious in your careers. You’ll just have the time to be mature to fly and train your other younger colleagues in something that is modern, excellent and top-notch. Croatia is procuring Rafale fighter jets for us to be more secure and that those who fly them to be more secure. This is something that is respected, and that frightens the enemy whoever he may be”, President Milanović concluded.

The President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces presented certificates and aviator badges to five pilots of the Croatian Air Force in the company of Defense Minister Mario Banožić, the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Admiral Robert Hranj and the Commander of the Croatian Air Force Brigadier General Michael Križanec.

Accompanying President Milanović at the ceremony were the Head of the Cabinet of the President of the Republic of Croatia Bartol Šimunić and the Adviser to the President of the Republic of Croatia for Defense and National Security Dragan Lozančić.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Ana Marija Katić