In accordance with the signed contracts on the procurement of multirole fighter aircraft Rafale and the Program of realization of the introduction of Rafale aircraft into operational use in the Croatian Armed Forces, pilots of the Croatian Air Force performed the first independent flights on Rafale aircraft in the French Republic.

Defence Minister Mario Banožić congratulated the Croatian Air Force pilots on their first, and at the same time historic independent flight on Rafale planes and said that their flights marked the beginning of a new era in the Croatian Armed Forces.

“With these flights, we have confirmed that the Croatian Air Force has world-class pilots from whom allies and partners can learn a lot. Croatian pilots again impressed with their knowledge and skills and in a short time successfully replaced MiG-21 aircraft with modern and powerful Rafales”, said Minister Banožić.

The Defence Minister also recalled that it was the Government of the Republic of Croatia, led by Andrej Plenković, who was the first to take over the responsibility of providing multirole fighter jets to the Croatian Army: “This is proof that the Program of realization of the implementation of the Rafale aircraft into operational use is taking place in accordance with the planned dynamics, nothing is left to chance and we are pleased that we can witness the realization of a historic investment in the Croatian Army”.

As a reminder, the first group of aeronautical technical personnel for the maintenance of the Rafale aircraft has already been sent for training at the French Air Force air base in Mont-de-Marsan.

The training lasts 18 months and is conducted in the French Air Force and companies manufacturers of aircraft, equipment and armaments.

In accordance with the contract in early 2023, the first group of fighter pilots of the Croatian Air Force was sent for flight training for the Rafale aircraft to the French Air Force.

Namely, gradually, about 90 members of various specialties will be sent to the French Air Force and aircraft, equipment and armament squad companies to create conditions for the operational use of Rafale aircraft.