( 1996. )

The organization of the independent Croatian Airforce started in 1992. after the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. The Croats had quite a bad situation because all of their military aircafts left under the control of the Serbian army. They also had difficulties with airbases because Serbians left the bases but they took all the equipment away or destroyed it. Without military aircrafts the Croats bombed the Serbian army with An-2 and other propeller driven aircrafts. The reconstruction of the Pula, Split and Pleso airbase started and they started to set up an overall radiolocation and air defence system. At this time Croats tried to find the Croatian pilot served in the Yugoslavian army and asked them to go home and serve in the Croatian Airforce. in the October of 1991. one of the pilots escaped to Austria with his MiG-21 R aircraft and later another three pilots escaped to Split and Pleso with MiG-21 MF aircrafts. This 4 military aircrats formed the Croatian Airforce. Half of this airforce was bombed on the ground by the Serbs. From 1993. Croatia started to develop its airforce strongly and later they were equipped by MiG-21 bis aircrafts and Mi-24 helicopters.

The situation of the Croatian Airforce

After solving organising problems an intensive pilot training started. Pilots have trainig flights every weekday and so they fly approximately 150-160 hours a year which is twice more than the flying hours in the other East European countries. Most of the equipment is modern west-made equipment. Such as pressurised G-suits and Gent helmets. Some of their helicopters are equipped with GPS and FMS systems, as well.


  • 5 fighter aircraft squads
  • 1 training aircaft squadron
  • 1 transport aircraft squadron
  • 1 transport helicopter squadron
  • 1 attack helicopter squadron

Currently operating types

  • fighter aircrafts
    • 15/5 MiG-21 bis/UM

  • training aircrafts
    • 1 squadron UTVA-75, Cessna, Soko Kraguj, Piper

  • transport aircrafts
    • 1 squadron An-2

  • helicopters
    • 12 Mi-24 D/DU
    • Mi-8 A/S
    • Mi-17

Croatia started to purchase 1 squadron Su-25 attack aircrafts which could have a critical influence for their fight against the Serbs. The aircrafts were produced in Georgia, Tbilisi ( former Soviet Union ). The aircrafts eventually not arrived to Croatia because of the revolution in Georgia and they are even now stored packed in chests since then in Georgia.

The units of the Croatian Airforce

Pleso Airbase

This airbase is one of the more important airbases in Croatia. Beside the airforce it is used by UN forces and commercial aircrafts , as well. This is the home base of 1 of the total 5 squads of MiG-21 interceptors. Also this is the home base of the transport squadron operating An-2 aircrafts which had already proved its flexibility in the earlier fights against the serbs.

Current type

  • 1 squad ( 3 ) MiG-21 bis
  • 1 squadron An-2

Pula Airbase

Two squads of the total 5 MiG-21 squads are based here. Two aircrafts ( such as in Pleso and Split ) are always in readiness armed with R-60 ( AA-8 Aphid ) infrared heatseeker air to air missiles.

Current type

  • 2 squads ( 6 ) MiG-21 bis

Split Airbase

One of the 5 MiG-21 squads is based here with 3 aircrafts which have the same air defence role as the MiGs in Pleso and Pula.

Current type

  • 2 squads ( 6 ) MiG-21 bis

Lucko Airbase

The base which is situated to SW from Zagreb is the home base of the transport helicopter squadron. Some of the helicopters are equipped with moder GPS and FMS navugation systems.

Current type

  • 1 squadron Mi-8 A/S, Mi-17

Divulje Airbase

Some light propeller driven aircrafts and naval helicopters operate here. This base is planned to be the home base of the future special air rescue squadron.

Zemunik Airbase

Although this base is close to the Serbs this is a training base for the airforce academy. Some light propeller driven aircrafts operate here.

Current type

  • 1 squadron UTVA-75, Cessna, Soko Kraguj, Piper

Pilot training

Training in the Croatian Airforce started in 1992 so none of the new pilots served in the Yugoslavian Airforce. Pilots are trained and instructed in the Zemunik Airbase which is close to Zadar near the seashore. There are some difficulties to get the new pilots ready for the combat planes because there is no available basic jet trainer. Trainig of helicopter pilots is suspende due to the lack of the required trainig chopper.


Croatia is planning to set up 2 combat regiments equipped with modern multirole aircrafts and to set up a transport aircraft regiment. The favourite choice is the american F-16 off course but it is under embargo. The MiG-29 is also a possibile choice if there is no other possibility.

Collected and put together by Tamas Gal; Transferred into HTML language by Kornel Straub

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