13-Dec-2022 Source: Croatian Government
[electronic translation] The Minister of Defense Mario Banožić and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, Admiral Robert Hranj, also the envoy of the President of the Republic of Croatia and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, attended the reception of two UH-60M helicopters at Zagreb International Airport “Franjo Tuđman” on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Black Hawk from the project to equip the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia with helicopters, which began in December 2018 in cooperation with the Government of the United States of America.
Out of a total of four helicopters, two are the subject of a donation from the US Government, and the remaining two are being procured by the Ministry of Defense.
On this occasion, Minister Banožić thanked the most important strategic partner of the Republic of Croatia in the field of defense and ally, the United States of America, for the support and successful cooperation that began during the Homeland War through cooperation with the Minnesota National Guard and continued through numerous projects, the realization of this project procurement of helicopters, as well as projects to equip Bradley vehicles.
“The proof of this strong partnership is the arrival of these two Black Hawk helicopters, as well as the two donated helicopters that were delivered in February of this year. We can boast that the Croatian Air Force, which as of today is richer for two more helicopters, will significantly speed up work in all tasks and operations with the arrival of the helicopters,” said the minister and added that until now most UH-60M pilots had about 200 flight hours. which is an exceptional result considering that we started putting the helicopters into operational use at the beginning of May 2022.
The Minister announced that the Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian Air Force, will continue with the goal of replacing helicopters of Soviet technology with Western ones. “We have two types of helicopters, one was purchased during the Homeland War and their resources will run out soon, one part of next year, and the other in 2024. Russian-made spare parts are also a problem,” the minister added.
In the end, the minister reminded that the ambition of the Ministry of Defense is to continue equipping the Black Hawk helicopter, which is currently one of the best helicopters in the world, and that he hopes Croatia will have 12 of them. “We want to acquire eight more Black Hawk helicopters,” he concluded. is a minister.
Admiral Robert Hranj thanked the US Government for its continuous support in equipping and modernizing the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, pointing out that the project of acquiring UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters is extremely important for the Croatian Army. “This is just one of the steps in the project of replacing helicopters of Soviet technology with Western ones, which we will continue in accordance with financial plans and possibilities”, said Admiral Hranj and added that he is convinced that cooperation with the most important strategic partner, the USA, will continue in the future as well. numerous other projects.
The ceremony was also attended by the chargé d’affaires of the US embassy Mark Fleming, US military envoy Brigadier Matt Denny, head of the Office for Defense Cooperation (ODC) Brian Devlin, chief adviser Major General Željko Živanović, director of the Directorate for Defense Policy Dunja Bujan Šujster. , head of the Planning Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the People’s Republic of Croatia, Brigadier General Gordana Garašić, Commander of the Croatian Air Force, Brigadier General Michael Križanec with colleagues and others.
The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters will further increase the capabilities of the Croatian Army, and they will be able to be used in transport, border security, combating terrorism, medical evacuation, search and rescue, logistic replenishment and combat support. At the same time, it will enable interoperability with US and NATO forces in various tasks and rapid positioning of troops with minimal helicopter resources.