Croatias ministry of Defence announched earlier today that Croatia may replace its old MiG-21 with Swedish Saab Gripen.
Sweden will lend the Croatian Air force 6 version A Gripens for free for 2 years if they decide to buy new planes in the C/D version from Saab.
Acouring to media the only competitor remaning is Russian MiG.
In total Croatia will buy 8-12 fighters to replace the old MiGs.
As I see it, the Gripen currently occupies the niche formerly filled by F-5 and MiG-21 with an additional advantage (for some potential customers) of not being American or Russian. It's the leading entry-level 4.5 generation multi-role fighter currently in production.
Gripen would be great choice for Croatia, but with Croatian GDP projected to fall 1.1% in 2012, military expenditure at the all time low (bellow 1.5 of GDP), with a pressure to reduce budget deficit (internal and external), mounting internal and external debt, internal pressures to keep practically unsustainable social benefits and subsidies, I'm afraid it will just be wishful thinking for us.
As of 2010 military expenditure should have been raised to 2% of GDP according to long-term defense plan, but instead it is kept at lower level, which in actual terms means around 1.6-1.7 billion Kn less at annual level. Obviously this have great impact on the modernization programs, especially for a rather expensive program like buying 12 supersonic fighters (cost projected at around 5 billion Kn).
Modernization of remaining 5-6 flyable mig-21, then a purchase of 6-8 new (oOOOld) but Nato compatible Mig-21's from Ukraine, because Ukraine is a whole lot cheaper and probably more reliable the Romanians.
He,He... that's another story alltogether...
There is still a small confusion to whome those mig's belong to. In October '12 a Croatian delegation was in Ukraine, an they saw those migs with no markings on them. A couple of weeks after they went, they were painted with Yemen's insignia.....As far as the story goes, Yemen either was buying them, or restoring them , but no founds were given to the Ukrainians.... So Ukrainians brought papers to Croatian embassy that confirm they own them. Apparently, of course.....
Colours and tail number look Yemenite. These aircraft were probably sent for overhaul / avionics upgrade.
It hapens that they are not paid in due time (or, sometimes, at all) and in such case the factory decides to take posession of them. In all cases, they are not NATO compatible.
By the other hand, it is difficult for Ukraine to keep them, due to limitations in CFE Treaty (Ukraine had to destroy a great number of newer combat aircraft in order to comply). CFE Treaty says Ukraine has to notify these combat aircraft and they are subject to international inspection.
True,true....But don't forget that Croatia bought in the 90'is 40 or so migs from Ukraine, some for flying, and some for cannibalism, to maintain combat readiness. Including migs that survived the war, post war, and Aerostar overhaul, there are ,maybe,6-7 left. They all will be grounded this year, and that is a big thorn in their backside. Ukrainian loby within Croatian military is probably strongest of them all. The government is about to make an under the table deal with them, because there are a few issues with that deal; a total price of 14,7 mil euros for overhauling and new machines is fictional, by my opinion....True, they will not be NATO compatible, but those IFF's can be placed on a later date. So, that is an extra cost to that....But those migs that will be bought in Ukraine allready have different set of flight commands, different electronics, inside cockpit they are not what the pilots are used now in Aerostar models.Who will instal ECM, IFF and other packages to the plane, is a guess, Since Russians, and Israelis are pissed off with the behaviour of government of Croatia, the answer is pretty obvious..Even though Aerostar did not make Croatians wery happy. But since they will lose combat readines veeery soon, they have no choice but to take the least expensive offer , for a period of 3 years or less,