The Croatian military is on the verge of selecting Israel’s used F-16 jets to take the place of its dwindling supply of Soviet MiG-21s, just six of which are estimated to be operational. The fleet of 21 60-year-old MiG-21s is in dire need of replacement, Sputnik reported.
Croatia invited the US, Israel, South Korea, Sweden and Greece to participate in the competition to supply the next wave of fighter aircraft last July. Zagreb has eyed new or used F-16 Fighting Falcons from Israel, the US or Greece, South Korea's FA-50s and Saab's JAS-39 Gripens.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic reached an agreement "to push forward" on the deal, signaling Netanyahu's F-16s may be close to winning the contract, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.
"This development is another expression of the deep ties between the two countries," Netanyahu's office said in a statement. The deal could be worth up to $500 million, but its potential terms have not been finalized.