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Croatia keen to purchase French air defense systems


Apr 28, 2011
According to Muhammad Irfan in Urdu Point, Croatia is engaged in talks with France on the purchase of short-range air defense systems as part of its national defense strategy, Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banozic said on Thursday, October 13.
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Thales Crotale short-range air defense system (Picture source: Thales)

Earlier in the day, Banozic took part in a meeting of 14 NATO defense ministers in Brussels. The minister said that at the initiative of Germany, which was supported by 14 member states of the Alliance, the arming of the participating countries with Arrow 3 or Patriot air defense systems is being prepared as part of the European Sky Shield Initiative, Muhammad Irfan reports. Banozic noted that Croatia postponed its participation, as it is already negotiating with France on short-range air defense systems, without mentioning their type(s).

"After the drone crash in Zagreb in March this year, we identified air defense as a priority. First of all, short-range systems, and in bilateral conversations with France, we have already provided material resources at the level of one battery, and our goal is to provide five batteries in a short time," the minister said, adding that the acquisition of medium- and long-range air defense systems is also on the agenda. Notice that, in November 2021, Zagreb signed an agreement with France for the supply of 12 Rafale jet fighters worth almost $1 billion.

Even if the air defense type currently concerned by the French-Croatian negotiations is not specified, one may assume Thales-made Crotale may be a relevant choice. Even more, considering that France will deliver radar and air defense systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks, President Emmanuel Macron announced in an interview on Wednesday, October 12. The president didn’t specify the type or quantity, but Reuters revealed it as Crotale short-range anti-air missiles. This system is capable of shooting down low-flying missiles as well as manned and unmanned aircraft, with a no-escape zone of 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) against “high maneuvering targets,” according to the manufacturer Thales.

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Model of an Arrow 3 missile on display at Hatzor Airbase, in Israel, on March 3, 2018 (Picture source: Ben Hartman)

The Arrow 3, or Hetz 3, mentioned by NATO for a possible common air defense is an exoatmospheric hypersonic long-range anti-ballistic missile, jointly funded, developed and produced by Israel and the United States. Undertaken by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing, it is overseen by the Israeli Ministry of Defense's "Homa" (rampart) administration and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It provides exo-atmospheric interception of ballistic missiles (during the space-flight portion of their trajectory), including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) carrying nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads. With divert motor capability, its kill vehicle can switch directions dramatically, allowing it to pivot to see approaching satellites. The missile may have a reported flight range of up to 2,400 km (1,500 mi). According to the chairman of the Israeli Space Agency, Arrow 3 may serve as an anti-satellite weapon, which would make Israel one of the world's few countries capable of shooting down satellites.


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