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Croatia receives first Rafale fighter from France

The first of 12 Rafales was officially handed over to Croatia on 2 October. (Croatian MoD)

Croatia received the first of 12 Dassault Rafale combat aircraft from France on 2 October, the Croatian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced.

Aircraft tail number 170 was officially handed over to the Croatian MoD during a ceremony at the French Air and Space Force (Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace: AAE) base at Mont-de-Marsan.

The event, attended by Croatian Defence Minister Mario Banožić and other high-ranking national political and military figures, came some 28 months after Croatia selected in May 2021 for 12 Rafales to replace its ageing MiG-21s. A deal for EUR1.15 billion (USD1.21 billion) was signed in November 2021, with payments to run from 2021 to 2026.

The 12 surplus AAE Rafale aircraft comprise 10 single- and two twin-seaters at the F3-R standard. Further to these aircraft, Croatia is receiving simulators, training, and other support to run through until the final quarter of 2026. Aircraft deliveries are due to be completed in 2025.

The Croatian Air Force and Air Defence (AFAD) intends to operate the Rafale until the early 2050s.

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