The Croatian Helicopter Swap Triangle: Mi-8s for UH-60s
Croatia’s Jutarnji list reports that a proposed helicopter swap deal was discussed during an Aug 14/14 meeting between high-ranking Croatian defense personnel and a delegation from the US House of Representatives.
The goal is to offer the Ukraine near-term assistance, while bringing Croatian forces closer to NATO standards. Under the deal…
Croatia’s 14 upgraded Mi-8 MTV-1 helicopters would be given to the Ukraine, in exchange for 20 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from US Army stocks. Those helicopters would likely be UH-60Ls, rather than the newest UH-60Ms. If the deal goes through, the UH-60 Black Hawks would serve beside a smaller force of 10 new Mi-17-1Sh helicopters that entered Croatian service in 2008, and 8 Bell 206B-3 Jet Ranger helicopters used for training and light utility duties.
Croatia’s Mi-8s should be somewhat familiar to the Ukraine, as Sevastopol Aircraft Plant helped the Croatian firm ZTC repair and modernize 6 of them under a July 2013 contract. Most of Croatia’s Mi-8 fleet arrived in the early 1990s, and they have received 2 major overhauls during their lifetimes.
Croatia has also been getting a close look at the Black Hawk’s capabilities lately, thanks to a multinational July 2014 exercise over Kosovo that involved Croatian Mi-17s and American UH-60s. In August, 4 Croatian representatives strapped into UH-60s with Minnesota’s National Guard, as part of the Vigilant Vortex disaster relief exercise in that state.