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Croatia takes over formal ownership of first Rafale fighters from France

Croatia took over official ownership of six Rafale combat aircraft from France on 23 February. (Croatian MoD)

Croatia has taken over formal ownership of the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft to be received from France.

The Croatian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the development on 23 February, saying it now owns the first six of 12 Rafales it has ordered.

This milestone came about five months after the first Rafale was 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 in early October 2023.

Croatia selected the Rafale in May 2021 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 scheduled to be completed in 2025.

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

For more information on the AFAD, please seeCroatia – Air Force .

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