August 9, 1999 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Croatia might be the first among the ex-Yugoslav member states where F-16 Fighting Falcon airplanes will guard the safety of the airspace.
Replacing the MiG-21 aircraft that have been serving up to now, the twelve F-16's arriving from the United States would be modernized by an Israeli firm that was originally to upgrade the MiG's.
Defense minister Pavao Miljavac negotiated with an Israeli envoy last month, and it was mentioned there that Zagrab would possibly modernize its air force.
The Croatian air force has decided years ago that it does not want to operate MiG-29 aircraft so the hypothesis that Western fighter aircraft will be sought seems logical.
According to experts, the F-16 is supported - among others - because it can be acquired at a reasonable price. An official at the Croatian defense ministry said to the paper "Nacional" that at a recent Washington visit of the head of the ministry was a first move towards a decision in that direction.