In July 2013, the Croatian Defense Ministry signed a deal with Ukrspecexport, an arms company owned by the Ukrainian government. Included in the arrangement was the stipulation that the defense company would provide Croatia with 12 Mikoyan MiG-21 fighter jets.
These were delivered in July 2015, but five of the aircraft were quickly removed from service due to technical problems.
Given that almost half of the order was too defective to function, the Croatian military police launched a corruption probe into the purchase, and uncovered some damning details.
The investigation found that the jets were fitted with outdated parts from Bulgaria, Algeria, and the former Soviet Union. These parts do not meet the technical requirements laid out in the contract signed by Ukrspecexport.
Officials also found that five of the fighters were used, and, in fact, are currently property of the Yemen Air Force.
As investigations continue, the Croatian government is shopping for additional aircraft to replace its aging fleet.
At the top of the list are Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Saab’s JAS-39. The government is also considering South Korea’s T-50, Israel’s Kfir, and the French Mirage.