Defence Minister Mario Banozic said at the Aeronautical Technical Centre (ZTC) in the town of Velika Gorica, near Zagreb, on Friday that four Canadairs and three Air Tractors were available and that another Canadair and two more Air Tractors would be delivered by the end of the month.
They will then be in the 5+5 formation during the fire season, he said, adding that the ministry was the link securing the budget and the legal requirements.
Banozic said the 5+5 formation was “ideal” for Croatia, given its EURescue obligations.
Why it was not deployed in this week’s wildfire in the Sibenik area will be explained by the ZTC, he said, adding that he wants answers.
Commenting on reports that the Croatian Air Force commander was inquiring about the overhaul of one Canadair in Italy, the minister said the commander told him he was looking for bids given the prices on the market, and that he expected the ZTC to say “clearly” if they were willing to overhaul the aircraft and why they had not.
Asked to comment on President Zoran Milanovic’s claim that there was a plan to retire the military chief of staff, Banozic said Milanovic was brave at home, but that on the international front, he left with his tail between his legs.
The retirement of the chief of staff does not happen by my will but under the law, he added.