Le Rafale will fly well under Croatian cockade

This Friday, Croatian authorities confirmed their decision to acquire 12 aircraft Rafale second hand with France to replace its last MIG-21s by 2024. The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, indicated that the French proposal was the one that best met the needs of the country's air forces, and the most relevant from the point of view of economic view. The contract, worth 999 million euros, includes the delivery of 12 Rafale to the F3R standard, the training of flying and maintenance personnel, ammunition and spare parts, in order to give the Croatian air forces the necessary freedom of action required to defend their airspace and participate in international and coalition operations. The first 6 devices will be delivered in 2024, the other 6 in 2025.

This is undoubtedly a great success for Dassault Aviation, the Team Rafale, and the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, who was personally involved in this competition, traveling twice to Zagreb in 2020. This is the 3rd order for Rafale since the start of the year, after the 18 aircraft ordered by Greece and the 30 additional aircraft ordered by Egypt. Above all, this is the first customer not belonging to the Dassault Aviation ecosystem, and more broadly, which is not a traditional partner of the French Defense industry. What's more, it is a European customer, whereas until recently many thought that the Rafale would not succeed in imposing itself on the old continent in the face of American planes and Typhoon.

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Florence Parly traveled to Zagreb twice in 2020 to support the French offer of Rafale second-hand – This contract is a new personal success for the French Minister of the Armed Forces (Photo MORH / F. Klen)

This success is above all due to a profound change in approach by the French authorities and the Team Rafale, highlighting the incomparable scalability of the Rafale by offering used aircraft offering operational and scalable potential identical to those of new aircraft, at prices almost half the price of these. Thus, the direct competitor of Rafale in Croatia, Lockheed-Martin offered 12 new F16 Block 70 Vipers at a price of €1,7 billion in a package substantially equivalent to that of the Rafale. However, if the F16V is undoubtedly a good, perfectly modern device, it offers neither the versatility nor even the evolution capabilities of the Rafale F3R over time. By choosing a second-hand approach, Paris has therefore put itself in a position of strength, by fitting into a budget envelope acceptable to Zagreb, without having to give up certain operational capabilities.

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