World News

Croatia receives 13 offers in quest to buy air force fighters

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia, which is trying to buy 12 fighters to modernize its air force, said on Wednesday it had received 13 expressions of interest in response to a request for offers for the planes.

“We have received 13 offers after contacting 26 potential bidders. Five offers involve new fighter jets and eight refer to used ones. We shall now assess the validity of the offers,” the state commission tasked to run the procurement process said in a statement.

It did not identify the bidders. Once the expressions of interest were assessed and the preferred ones selected, the bidders would be expected to provide their final bids.

The Jutarnji List daily newspaper reported on Thursday that the bidders represented at least seven countries, including Israel, Italy, France, the United States, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.

Croatia joined the NATO alliance in 2009 and the EuropeanUnion in 2013. Its air force owns a squadron of outdated MIG-21 fighters, just a few of which are operational.

Earlier this year a deal with Israel on buying used F-16 fighters fell through as Israel could not obtain from the United States the necessary approval to deliver the U.S.-built jets.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Peter Graff