Final preparations for the arrival of the first Rafales in Croatia

Members of the Croatian Air Force are making final preparations in the hangar of the Dassault Aviation training center, for the historic flight of the first six Rafale planes to Croatia.

Following the announcements of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry of Defense, the first six out of total of 12 Rafale multi-purpose fighter jets will arrive in Croatia this spring – only a few weeks left from the arrival of the new guardians of the Croatian skies. The other six will arrive to Croatia by the beginning of next year, when the pilot training is completed.

In the hangar of the training center within the Dassault Aviation (DA) company, fighter pilots and technicians of the Croatian Air Force (HRZ) are making final preparations before the flight of the first six Rafale planes from France to Croatia.

Croatian pilots in France are in different stages of training and shared some of their first experiences of flying on the Rafale plane, the new flagship of HRZ. One of the pilots has already been in France for a year and says that, since his childhood, his dream was to fly a powerful military aircraft such as the Rafale, one of the best fighter jets of today.

One of those who will fly one of the six Rafales that will soon arrive in Croatia spoke more about the course of training and the readiness of Croatian pilots. As he says, compared to MiGs, flying on the Rafale is more complex and demanding, and the overflight to Croatia represents an exceptional honor and responsibility for him.

“The training consisted of two parts. First, we were in the technical classroom, after that the simulator training began and then flying. Flying the Rafale is more demanding and complex, while MiG is more complex to maintain in the air. I can jokingly say that in a MiG you can get lost in space, and in a Rafale in the cockpit. It’s a big step forward, but one quickly gets used to better things”, he said and added at the end: “I am one of those who will fly to Croatia with Rafale, and it is an exceptional honor and responsibility because these planes will be in HRZ for a long time, long after I stop flying. That’s why I’m proud and happy”.

One of the aviation technicians, who has been in France for six months, and who, as a scholarship holder of the “Rudolf Perešin” Aviation Technical School, has been a member of HRZ for five years, said that he is also looking forward to the flight to his homeland with great joy.

“I worked on MiG-21 aircraft as a technician for almost four years and after that I came here. I am training to be a technician who works on the weapons system on the Rafale aircraft and changing configurations for a certain type of mission that the pilots of this aircraft might have”.

According to the latest publicly available data, Rafale aircraft should arrive in Croatia between April 15 and 25, 2024.

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