Croatia to request bids for fighter jets from seven states

Croatia said it will send a request for bids on Wednesday to seven states seeking to buy a squadron of new or used fighter jets in an effort to modernize its air force.

A year ago Croatia's intention to buy 12 used F-16 fighter jets from Israel fell through after Israel said it could not get approval from the United States for the sale.

"The requests will later on Wednesday be sent to the United States and Sweden for new (Lockheed Martin Corp) F-16 and (Saab) Gripen fighter jets, respectively. We will also send the requests for used fighter jets to France, Italy, Norway, Greece and Israel," the government said in a statement.

It expects to receive bids by May and to assess them by August.

Croatia, the former Yugoslav republic, joined the NATO alliance in 2009 and the European Union in 2013.

Its air force currently uses a squadron of outdated MIG-21 fighter jets, but just a few of them have been reported operational in recent years.