ZAGREB, Oct 5 (Croatia Sun News) – A range control tower, donated by the US government, was presented on the Croatian army range at Slunj on Friday, and the capability of close air support control was demonstrated with three US F-16 aircraft and two Croatian Air Force Kiowa Warrior helicopters.
“Today’s demonstration showed the new power of the Croatian armed forces. We saw the impressive capabilities of our personnel in guiding the US F-16 aircraft, while on the other hand US controllers guided our Kiowa Warrior helicopters. This is a huge achievement, and in this way we are promoting unity and partnership and building a strong and powerful military,” Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic said.
He said that the tower would be used for training Croatian Air Force personnel and advancing the training of Kiowa helicopter crews, adding that it would also be used in the future training of Black Hawk helicopter crews and pilots of new combat aircraft.
“We constantly invest in the Croatian military, its training grounds and barracks, both on our own and in cooperation with our allies, and we will continue to do so in the future,” the minister said, thanking everyone who participated in the construction of the JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) tower.
US Ambassador Robert Kohorst said that the US was a proud ally of Croatia. This tower is a symbol of continued US support to Croatia in modernising its armed forces, he added.
Croatian Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Mirko Sundov said that the tower would help increase the compatibility and interoperability of the Croatian military and its allies and partners. “For Croatia, the United States of America is the most important strategic partner in maintaining and developing Croatian defence capabilities. Our ambition is to maintain and advance the achieved level of capability,” he said.
The range control tower was built and financed by the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) with $850,000. It will ensure safe and successful guidance and control of training and exercises with live ammunition, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.