On 2 October 2023, the Hrvatske Zračne Snage (Croatian Air Force) officially received its first Dassault Rafale at Base Aérienne (BA) 118 Mont-de-Marsan in the south-west of France.
The dual-seat Rafale B with serial 170 is the second aircraft noted with a Croatian serial number. During mid-September, Scramble Magazine wrote about the first Croatian Rafale sighting.
Although the ceremony at Mont-de-Marsan marked the official handover of the first Rafale to the Croatian Air Force, it is expected that the first six aircraft will be delivered next year, before the summer.
Before that, Croatian pilots and technicians will be educated and trained at both Mont-de-Marsan and Base Aérienne (BA) 113 Saint-Dizier-Robinson.
Strikingly, during the ceremony a Croatian Air Force pilot was noted with a Rafale badge. The badge with the Rafale was marked with the number 191. The number stands for 191.Eskadrila Lovačkih Aviona (191 Fighter Squadron) based at Zagreb/Franjo Tudjman/ Pleso Airport.
In May 2021, Croatia announced that they would sign a contract by the year-end for twelve used Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace (French Air and Space Force) Dassault Rafale fighters. This number of aircraft is divided into ten single-seat and two dual-seat aircraft. The contract, valued at 999 million euro, includes a flight simulator, basic weapons package, ground and test equipment, spare parts, training of staff and instructors, support from manufacturers for three years and a 12-month warranty for each aircraft, engine and other equipment.
Credit photos: Croatian Air Force / French Air Force