Vecernji List: Croatian-made military equipment sees record-high demand

NICOLAS NICOLAS MESSYASZ / Sipa Press / Profimedia

Croatian companies who attended Europe's largest military industry fair in Paris told Vecernji List daily that "the military sector is growing," adding that the demand for Croatian military equipment "has never been greater," state agency Hina said on Wednesday, carrying an article from Vecernji List.

“Eurosatory, the largest European arms and military equipment fair is held every two years in Paris and is one not to be missed by anyone in the business of military equipment including businesses of the Croatian defence industry,” Hina said.

Last year was the best ever for the largest producer of military equipment in Croatia. The Karlovac-based HS Produkt which manufactures pistols and assault rifles earned more than 1.07 billion kuna (€134 million) and most of this was on foreign markets.

The second-largest Croatian company in this sector, Zagreb’s DOK-ING, generated a record 265 million kuna (€35 million) in revenues from the export of its robotic unmanned vehicles for mine clearing. Helmet manufacturer Sestan-Busch earned 66 million kuna (€9 million), and the state-owned agency Alan earned approximately the same amount. Hina did not clarify what Alan makes.

“Even though the largest military companies are exhibiting in Paris, it is important for the Croatian Defense Industry Competitiveness Cluster to have a strong joint performance. Three months ago the cluster included about 40 Croatian companies. Now, especially after the start of the war in Ukraine, this sector has boomed and now the cluster brings together more than 60 companies,” Vecernji said.

The cluster’s president, Goran Basarac, confirmed that the demand for weapons is still high, which was seen at the most recent military fair in Germany a few months ago, where customers literally wanted to buy even the products used for display.

“The demand is similar, but there has been a great fragmentation of the market,” Basarac said. Demand related to the war in Ukraine, namely, isn’t coming from the government, but it seems that every military unit in Ukraine has its own representative who is procuring military equipment. That makes it difficult for manufacturers because these are orders from 1,500 to 2,000 products, which means that manufacturers cannot produce large batches but have to adapt to individual customers.

“Apart from Ukraine, the European Defense Fund (EDF) is the main topic at Eurosatory. EDF is already worth around €8 billion. EDF is already accessible Basarac said and the Cluster is working on networking because our producers cannot apply for the funds on their own but in cooperatives,” Vecernji List reported, without clarifying what EDF is.