The Croatian Air Force base in Zemunik near Zadar has officially started the flight training of Croatian pilots on the new combat helicopters Kiowa Warriors that were donated by the US government last year.
In July 2016, five out of sixteen OH-58D Kiowa Warrior military helicopters were delivered to Zemunik, whilst the remaining eleven helicopters and all spare parts and equipment arrived in December 2016 aboard the US military transport aircraft C-5 Galaxy.
For the time being five American instructors have been training eight Croatian pilot instructors. Their training is to be completed by the end of November this year, when the trained instructors will begin the training of other Croatian pilots. The full operational capability of the helicopters should be reached by next year.
On this occasion, the Croatian Minister of Defence Damir Krsticevic, the US military envoy Brigadier Robert Mathers and other guests attended the training.
''These helicopters will enable our armed forces to reach new capabilities. They are part of the $500 million worth strong support and assistance segments we received from our strategic partners'', commented the Minister of Defence Damir Krsticevic.
The US military envoy Brigadier Robert Mathers said that he wanted to visit the Croatian air base himself to see that the US donation was put into usage in order to serve common interests and security. He also emphasized that American instructors praised the team of Croatian pilots as some of the best they have worked with.
''I'm pleased because we are developing military cooperation and sharing the same values and priorities not only in Southeast Europe, but worldwide'', commented Brigadier Robert Mathers.