US blocks “dishonest” Israeli F-16 sale to Croatia

The US government has blocked an Israeli sale of advanced variant F-16 fighter jets to Croatia valued at 500 million dollars; an angered White House has reportedly stated that the arms deal is  “dishonest”.

The arms deal was to see Israel sell twelve of its own advanced Barak 2020 model F-16 fighter jets to Croatia. Beyond the baseline US-built F-16 model, the Barak 2020 upgrade offers a range of modern electronic equipment – all produced by the Israeli arms industry – that enhances the aircraft’s offensive and defensive capabilities.

For some years, Croatia has run a open-to-all competition to acquire modern fighter jets to replace its aging MiG-21 fleet. The US, France, Sweden and Israel were just some of the aspiring competitors.

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Following announcement of the block, the White House expressed disappointment over that fact that Israel did not seek US approval in selling US-built jets (that were originally donated to Israel) with their advanced Israeli-made electronic equipment to Croatia.

It is yet to be seen if Israel successfully challenges the block, or if it is forced to reach a compromise with the US or even if Croatia is pushed to seek-out another seller as part of the Balkan country’s ongoing effort to modernize its air force.

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