Netanyahu and Croatian PM Agree to Advance $500m Sale of F-16s

Meeting in Davos, the two also agreed to 'expand economic, security, water, agricultural, academic and tourism cooperation'

File photo: A U.S. Air Force takes off at a joint exercise at Israel's Ovda military air base in November, 2017.
\ AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic agreed to move forward on the sale of Israeli F-16s to Croatia in Davos, Switzerland on Friday. According to sources who are familiar with the deal, the overall cost is estimated as $500 million.

Meeting at the World Economic Forum, the two also agreed to “expand economic, security, water, agricultural, academic and tourism cooperation."

Last week, during his trip to India, Netanyahu announced that the previously scrapped $500 million Spike anti-tank missile deal between India and major Israeli defense contractor Rafael is back on the table.

Netanyahu noted that India was working to reapprove the record defense deal. National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat added that current talks are progressing, and that the details will be finalized later on. Members of the premier’s entourage believe the transaction will end up being worth only half of the originally agreed upon $500 million.

In a bid to heighten the anti-tank capabilities of its ground forces, India issued a call for bids for thousands of anti-tank missiles, which was awarded about three years ago to Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Rafael committed to providing 8,000 Spike missiles (the international version of the Gil missile used by the Israeli army), with a range of four kilometers.

The total value of the original deal exceeded $600 million. The missiles would be manufactured by Rafael in India, in cooperation with two local companies. Rafael outbid a French firm (which dropped out relatively early) and the American Lockheed Martin, whose Javelin missile has a range of only 2.5 kilometers. The final agreement with India was yet signed.