The Croatian Armed Forces presented five new Kiowa Warrior helicopters at the air base in Zemunik near Zadar on Wednesday, with Defence Minister Josip Buljevic thanking the U.S. government for donating the helicopters and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who is the Armed Forces' Supreme Commander, stressing that the donation had both a military and a political dimension.
The helicopters are part of a project designed to equip the Croatian Armed Forces with reconnaissance and combat helicopters and they will be part of the squadron of the 93rd air base at Zemunik.
Grabar-Kitarovic said that the latest additions would help raise the level of combat readiness.
"This step has been made with the help of our strategic adviser the U.S. Apart from its military dimension, the donation also has a political dimension," she said, calling for stepping up the upgrading of the army.
The donation is proof that even in times of financial difficulty it is possible to work on modernising the army, Grabar-Kitarovic said.
She noted that the latest military additions did not pose a threat to anyone. "No one should feel threatened. This is not a threat to anyone because there are no aggressive intentions as suggested by some in our neighbourhood," said Grabar-Kitarovic.
Minister Buljevic said the donation was a visible proof of the US-Croatia alliance, noting that total U.S. assistance amounted to several hundred million dollars.
The project covers 16 helicopters and equipment produced in the period from 2010 to 2012 and put into use between 2012 and 2015. The first five helicopters were delivered to the Zemunik air base on July 30.