Minister Banožić visited the U.S. Air Force base in Saint Paul with Major General Manke, the commander of the Minnesota National Guard, accompanying him. There, he attended a presentation on the maintenance of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
Tuesday, 17 October 2023, was Minister of Defense Mario Banožić’s second day in the United States. He visited the Medical Simulation Training Centre and the Black Hawk UH-60 simulator at Camp Ripley in Minnesota with a delegation from the Ministry of Defense and the Croatian Armed Forces. After that, he toured the air base in Saint Paul accompanied by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, where he attended a presentation on the Black Hawk UH-60 helicopter maintenance.
Minister Banošić expressed his satisfaction that the Black Hawk helicopters significantly enhanced the Croatian Air Force capabilities and that he CAF will continue to be equipped with them. He emphasized that he was glad to have had the chance to witness the combat power of these aircraft again in Minnesota.
In this respect, Minister Banožić emphasized that the request for acquiring eight more helicopters had already been submitted as part of the Plan for the Development of the Helicopter Component in the Armed Forces. The American Government is anticipated to pay for four helicopters, while the Croatian Government would cover the remaining four.
“The final version of the contract is expected to be signed at the beginning of 2024,” said the Minister and added that all these developments show the determination of Andrej Plenković’s Cabinet to further strengthen the capabilities of the CAF.
“Considering that we began introducing this helicopter into operational use at the beginning of May 2022, we are particularly satisfied with the professionalism and skills of our pilots and aviation technicians”, Mr. Banožić stated. He also recalled that the Government of the Republic of Croatia recently adopted a decision to ensure financial resources for training additional pilots and technicians for UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.