The letter issuing invitation to tender for multi-purpose combat aircraft for the Croatian Air Force, signed by the commission in charge of procuring the jets, was delivered to seven countries on Wednesday, the government said in a press release.
The invitation to tender for new aircraft was delivered to the United States of America for F-16, and Sweden for JAS Gripen, while the invitation for used aircraft was delivered to France for Rafale, Italy for Eurofigher, and Norway, Greece, and Israel for F-16 jets.
The new invitation comes after the previous decision to purchase twelve F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets from Israel, agreed in March 2018 and worth some 3.1 billion kuna ($477 million), had fallen through in January last year. The contract on the delivery was never signed and the sale was blocked by the United States, which, as the original manufacturer of the jets, had to sign off on the deal before the aircraft were to be passed on to a third party.
However, the Israeli government failed to obtain permission from the US because the aircraft were upgraded with modern, Israeli-made technology.
The Croatian Air Force currently has only eight fighter jets, the outdated Soviet-made MiG-21s, only half of which are operational.
The initial offers for the new tender are expected in May, and the process of evaluating the offers should be finished by August 2020, when the commission will give its recommendations to the government, the press release said.