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Croatia signs for additional Black Hawk helicopters

One of two UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters that were delivered to Croatia on 3 February 2022. With a further two following from the same batch, Croatia has now signed for eight more helicopters. (Croatian Ministry of Defence)

Croatia has signed for eight additional Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks, bringing its total fleet to 12 helicopters.

Announced by the Croatian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the United States Embassy in Zagreb on 13 March, the deal came about three weeks after the US Department of State granted approval for the procurement on 26 January.

In its earlier approval, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the proposed sale would be valued at USD500 million and would include related equipment, spares, training, and support.

With four Black Hawks already received, the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence (AFAD) uses the Black Hawk for a range of roles, including troop lift, border security, counter-terrorism, medical evacuation, search-and-rescue, resupply or external lift, and combat support. As the most modern variant of the Black Hawk helicopter, the UH-60M incorporates more powerful and reliable General Electric T700-GE-701D engines, enhanced rotor blades, and a fully digital ‘glass' cockpit.

Along with the other components of the country's armed forces, the AFAD is involved in a long-term effort to replace the ageing (largely Soviet-built) equipment it inherited with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

As listed in Janes World Air Forces, the AFAD currently fields 10 Mil Mi-171Sh, one Mi-17-1VA, one Mi-8PS, and eight Bell 206B JetRanger III helicopters that will need replacing over the coming years, and in opting for the Black Hawk (and previously the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, of which it received 15) Croatia is further aligning itself with NATO and the US.

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