The Range Control Tower donated by the United States to the Croatian Armed Forces was presented officially in the Training Range Eugen Kvaternik near Slunj, featuring a demonstration of JTAC capabilities with the U.S. Air Force-s F-16 and Kiowa Warrior helicopters
The presentation of the Range Control Tower, built by the U.S. Air Force in Europe (USAFE) featured a display of JTAC capabilities, engaging three F-16s of the Aviano Air Base and two Kiowa Warrior helicopters of the Croatian Air Force.
The presentation was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, by the U.S. Ambassador to Croatia, H. E. Robert Kohorst, by the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov, by Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Drago Matanović, by the Special Advisor to the Defence Minister Božo Kožul and other senior visitors.
Minister Krstičević: The presentation showcased the new strength of the Croatian Armed Force.
Minister Krstičević stated “Today s presentation showcased the new strength of the Croatian Armed Forces, and impressive capabilities of our soldiers, who directed the U.S. F-16s, and the U.S. controllers directed the Croatian Kiowa Warrior helicopters. In this way we are also building alliance and partnership and strong armed forces!”
The Minister stressed that the use of the Range Control Tower would upgrade the training of Kiowa Warrior crews, as well as the future training of Black Hawk helicopter crews and of new aircraft pilots
“We have constantly invested into the Croatian Armed Forces, training ranges and barracks with our own means but also as a common effort with our allies, and shall continue to do so”, said the Minister, extending appreciation to all participants engaged in building the tower.
U.S. Ambassador: The U.S. is a proud ally of Croatia
The U.S. Ambassador to Croatia H.E. Robert Kohorst stated : The tower is a symbol of the continued support from the U.S. to Croatia for modernisation of its armed forces”.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov extended appreciation to the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb, to the Office for Defense Cooperation, to the Minnesota National Guard and to the USAREUR, and stated that the introduction of the tower would promote compatibility and interoperability of the Croatian Armed Forces with the allies and partners.
“The United States is the most important strategic partner regarding the maintenance and development of Croatian defence capabilities. Our ambition is to keep and upgrade the achieved capability level”, said General Šundov.
The building of the Range Control Tower was initiated by the members of the Croatian and of the U.S. armed forces, as a result of years – long cooperation in joint training and exercises.
The Range Control Tower will enable advanced bilateral training of the units of the Croatian Armed Forces and of U.S.Air Force in Europe, successful monitoring of live-fire training at the aerial shooting range in the Training Range near Slunj and the implementation of operational and security procedures in the training of forward air controllers, primarily of the USAFE forces lacking such opportunity in the base in Italy, and upgraded training of Kiowa Warrior OH 58D helicopters and in future training of Black Hawk helicopters and of new fighter aircraft; it will also enable full control of joint fires in the training range, and the control of the air support and the co-ordinated use of UAVs and unit training.
The project worth 850,000 USD, was funded by the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE). Joint Terminal Attack Controllers are qualified service members who direct the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from a forward position.