Croatia to buy 12 French Dassault Rafale fighter jets

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FILE PHOTO: French Navy Rafale fighter jets are seen onboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, currently moored at the port of Limassol

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia will buy 12 French Dassault Rafale fighter jets to modernise its air force in a deal worth 999 million euros ($1.22 billion), Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Friday.

Other bids in the process included those from the United States, Sweden and Israel.

Croatia joined NATO in 2009 and the European Union in 2013. Its air force has a squadron of Russian-made MiG-21 jets dating from the period of the former Yugoslavia, but they are outdated and only a few are still operational.

"The life-span of our MiG-21 jets expires in 2024," Plenkovic said.

($1 = 0.8211 euros)

(Reporting by Igor Ilic; editing by Nick Macfie)

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