Croatian Ground Army

Croatian Ground Army

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Croatian Army


caption= Emblem of the Croatian Army
dates= 1991
country= Croatia
allegiance=
branch=
type=
role=
size= about 12.850 personnel
command_structure= 2 Mechanized infantry brigades, 1 Logistic Brigade, 1 Reserve mechanized brigade
garrison= Karlovac
garrison_label= H/Q
equipment=M-84A4, M-95, M-80A, Patria AMV, Iveco LMV, BOV 3/20, BOV M-83
equipment_label=
nickname=
patron=
motto=
colors=
colors_label=
march=
mascot=
battles= Croatian War of Independence: Battle of Vukovar , Operation Maslenica, Operation Flash, Operation Storm
anniversaries= 28 May
decorations=
battle_honors=
current_commander= Lieutenant General Mladen Kruljac
current_commander_label=
ceremonial_chief=
ceremonial_chief_label=
colonel_of_the_regiment=
colonel_of_the_regiment_label=
notable_commanders= General Martin Špegelj, General Janko Bobetko, General Petar Stipetic, General Zvonimir Červenko, Lieutenant General Ante Gotovina

The Croatian Ground Army ( _hr. Hrvatska kopnena vojska), commonly referred to as the Croatian Army ("Hrvatska vojska") is a branch of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia.

The fundamental role and purpose of the Croatian Army is to protect vital national interests of the Republic of Croatia and defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state.

Basic tasks of the Croatian Army are:
* to maintain an optimal level of combat readiness of the Armed Forces
* to fight a possible aggressor's main forces on strategic-operational levels and to defend against any land, air and amphibious assaults
* to prevent, in cooperation with the other branches of the Armed Forces, an aggressor from in-depth operations on Croatian territory
* to build and develop the capability to respond to requests of non-traditional tasks that are required of the Croatian Army (floods, fires, natural disasters...)
*to assists its allies and friendly countries in time of need.

Equipment

*Infantry weapons
**FN FAL 7.62x51mm rifle (2,000+) BEL
**G36 5.56 mm NATO standard rifle (550+ more to be acquired, used by ISAF forces in Afganistan) GER
**Zastava M70 7.62x39mm rifle (120 000 - going to be replaced by VHS rifle) YUG
**in the near future Croatia will adopt its own 5.56x45mm bull-pup assault rifle, the VHS (50) CRO
**HS 2000 Croatian made 9 mm sidearm (20 000) CRO
**Ero - copy of the Israeli made sub machine gun, Uzi - (2500) CRO
**M2 Browning machine gun (550+) USA
**M84 machine gun (1400) Yugoslav made 7.62 mm MG YUG
**FN MAG (400) Belgian made 7.62 MG BEL
**Ultimax 100 (100) Singapur 5.56 MG with 100 rounds drum SIN
**M-53 7.9 mm MG, in stock, Yugoslav copy of German MG-42 YUG
**RBG-6 MULTIPLE GRENADE LAUNCHER 40x46mm (MGL)(160)CRO
**12.7 mm MACS M3 SNIPING RIFLE (240) CRO
**RT-20 anti-material rifle (80) CRO
**HS Produkt VHS 5.56mm NATO standard assault rifle (50)CRO (being tested)
**FN F2000 5.56mm NATO rifle, used in special forces (100) BEL

*Main battle tanks

** M-95 Degman (2) CRO- 2 prototypes built, and parts for 3 additional units, mainly turrets and tracks
** M-84A4, (72) - all tanks brought to A4 standard as of 2008, awaiting modernization to M-84D level CRO
** T-72 (3-Used for training) RUS
** M-84D Degman (8) CRO - 8 tanks brought to M84D standard, modernization ongoing where and whenever funds become available, plan calls for total upgrade of M84A4 fleet to M84D standard by the end of 2012.
* Following the government's long term defence plan, the Croatian army is to operate 104 modern battle tanks by 2015.

*Armoured fighting vehicles
**M-80A (104) - awaiting modernization YUG
**BTR-50PK (26) - to be replaced with Patria AMVs by 2010 USSR
**Patria AMV {84+42} - to enter service by 2012FIN
**M-83 POLO (37) - APC version and anti-tank version YUG
**LOV-1 (45) - light armoured personnel carrier of indigenous design CRO
**Iveco LMV (80) - on order, some already delivered, total will rise ITA
**HMMWV (12) - used by ISAF forces in Afganistan USA

*Anti-tank weapons

**9К115-2 "Metis-M" (23) RUS
**9K111 "Fagot" (119)(reserve - being replaced by modern NATO standard launchers)RUS
**M80 "Zolja" (1000+) YUG
**RL90 M95 (Croatian made of "Osa" Launcher) (500) CRO

*Anti-aircraft warfare

**Igla MANPADS (67) (to be modernized by 2010)RUS
**Strela 2M (513) MANPADS(part to be stored)YUG
**S-10CRO (10) (domestically built SA-13)CRO
**Bofors L/70 AA 40 mm canons (54)SWE
**BOV 3/20 (44)YUG

*Artillery
**60mm Mortar (69) + 270 in reserveCRO
**82mm M96 Mortar (69) + 270 in reserve CRO
**120mm M75 Mortar (48) + 280 in reserve CRO
**120mm SP-mortar 8 (reserve) CRO
**M56 105mm (4 - Used for training) + 40 in reserve YUG
**2S1 122mm (9) RUS
**D-30HR M94 122mm (28) +24 in reserve CRO
**M-46H1 Gun 130mm (36) RUS
**M84 "NORA" 152mm (16)YUG
**M1H1 L-33 155mm (18)ARG
**M115 203mm Howitzer (22) (held in reserve) USA
**M114 155mm Howitzer (12)USA
**M1A1 155 mm Long Tom Field Howitzer (36) (held in reserve) USA
**BM-21 "Grad" MLRS 122mm (36) (held in reserve)ROM
** RAK-12 MLRS (8) (60 held in reserve)CRO
**M-63 Plamen (200)(part held in reserve)YUG
**M-94 'Plamen S' (4)YUG
**M-96 'Tajfun' 122 mm MRLS 8x8 WD (2)CRO
**M-91 "Vulkan" 122 mm MLRS 6x6 WD (8) (Croatian made of M-77 Oganj) (held in reserve)CRO
**M-87 "Orkan" 262 mm MLRS (4)YUG

*Logistics
*Army Jeeps, 4WD (550)
*** Mercedes-Benz G-Class GER
*** Land Rover Wolf UK
*** Toyota Land Cruiser JPN
*** Nissan Navara JPN

*Army Trucks 5-15t (1200)
*** Mercedes-Benz GER
*** Iveco ITA
*** MAN GER
*** TAM (will be retired with in next 3-5 years) SLO
*** FAP(will be retired with in next 3-5 years) SRB
*** PTR(will be retired with in next 3-5 years) CRO
**Field Ambulance Trucks and 4WD vehicles (100)
**Special Vehicles (150)

Note: New vehicles are being rapidly introduced

*Withdrawn from service or in store
**M60P/M60SAN (45) (Yugoslav-made APCs - scrap heap)
**T-55 (192) (target practice, some in store)
**T-34/85 (33) (target practice)
**M-47 Patton (16) (target practice)
**BRDM-2 (9) (scrap heap)
**PT-76 (9) (withdrawn)
**BTR-60 (16) (scrap heap)
**MT-LBu (6) (scrap heap)
**ZSU-57-2 (2) (target practice)
**M53/59 Praga (24) (scrap heap)
**9K11 "Maljutka" (360) (withdrawn from service)
**M55 3/20mm AA cannon (54) (withdrawn from service)

Organizational Structure

The Croatian army is an all professional force with 12500 active personal, of which 2000 are volunteers. The Army can also rely on 8000 reserves who serve with the army up to 30 days each year.

The Croatian Army is being reorganized to fit with the NATO doctrine of a small capable force with emphasis on mobility and versatility.

With the new structure, the Croatian Army will keep 2 mechanized brigades, each brigade having a specific role to fill and different responsibilities.

NATO membership right now is the main priority and Croatia plans to do its utmost to achieve the goal of full NATO membership. The defense reforms which Croatia initiated in 2000 have a long term agenda of replacing and modernizing the armed forces to meet the challenges of NATO membership. The plan calls for modernization of the Army and training standards. Replacing ex-Yugoslav/Soviet hardware is also one of the main priorities.

The Croatian army currently is evaluating the M-95 Degman Main Battle Tank as an upgrade solution for its tank fleet. There is a program which calls for a full upgrade of the tank fleet at a cost of 850 million Croatian Kuna, replacing obsolete anti aircraft systems, introducing a new NATO standard assault riffle and so on. Procurement of new NATO standard equipment is playing a significant part in the new defense doctrine and efforts to meet the challenges of future NATO membership.

Croatia plans to spend up to 20 billion Kuna (1U$ = 5.0 Kuna) on new arms over the next 7 years, of this at least 40% will be spent on the Army.

Croatia only recently operated almost 280 MBTs but this number decreased significantly due to the withdrawal of almost 200 old T-55 tanks in 2006. Many have been scrapped completely, some were sent to museums but a part was stored as operational reserve in case of need. The mainstay of the force is now concentrated around relatively modern M-84A/A4 main battle tanks.

Modernization of the tank fleet is one of the priorities set in the new defense budget so that current M-84A4 tanks can be brought up to M-84D standard..

It must be noted that the military operates newer models of M-84 than any ex-Yugoslav country due to the fact that the production was maintained during and after the war enabling Croatia to buy the last 20 newly built and improved M-84A4 Snajper units in 2003 with new German engines. However, purchasing a number of used Leopard 2 tanks has not been rejected so far. It is almost certain that Croatia will order at least 25-30 new M-84 tanks after the modernization of those already in service is complete.

In July, 2007 Patria AMV won a contract to supply the next generation of APCs to the Croatian Army. Croatia will probably order 260-280 Patria AMV vehicles which are going to be built locally and are all due to enter service before 2020. So far, the deal is worth around 170 million USD, not including weapons. During international tender, the Steyr-Daimler-Puch company behaved in a rather unprofessional manner, at first they withdrew its Mowag Piranha from the competition trying to give a boost to its newer Pandur 2 variant although Croatia showed no interest in that specific model. But when test trials began in July 2007, suddenly they brought back the Mowag Piranha without any notice. As if this wasn't enough, only 8x8 variant of the Pandur 2 was presented to the military officials. This was perceived as a rather insulting act by the Croatian side and other than that, Pandur 2 suffered an oil leak and punctured a tyre while Patria AMV behaved superbly and thus won the competition easily.In early 2007, Croatia bought 10 Iveco LMV light armoured jeeps at a cost of 330,000 Euros per unit. If they prove themselves in peacekeeping missions, another 70 will be bought very soon. At the moment half of them serve in Afganistan and the rest are at home. The military needs around 200-250 of these new superb vehicles to enter service by 2015.As the inventory of the Croatian military is full of numerous vehicles of different origin, type and age which are not mutually compatible and are difficult to maintain, huge steps have been made to solve these problems. In 2005 the army bought 152 new trucks and jeeps, 156 more in 2006 and another 170 or so will be obtained by the end of 2007. All vehicles are of prominent European or Japanese manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Iveco, MAN, Toyota and Nissan.New tactical and reconnaissance vehicles are also needed for the Croatian Army’s peacekeeping duties. Currently Croatia has around 280 troops on peacekeeping duty in Afghanistan and another 100 troops in other hot spots around the world.The Croatian Army plans to introduce a new assault rifle replacing the AK-47 in 2008, the rifle will be manufactured by a local arms producer, Croatia is well known for manufacturing high quality small arms. Recently, HS Produkt developed a new assault rifle named the VHS. It is being tested in parts of Afghanistan and by the Croatian Special Forces.

Army Modernization plans:

Croatia plans to spend about 7.5 billion Kuna (1500 million USD) over next 7 years on equipping its ground army.

"Main Programs"

* Procurement of 126 Patria AMV Modular APC/IFV - 850 million Kuna (additional 120-150 vehicles might be ordered after 2010 once more funds become available, Croatia needs approximately 250-280 Patrias in various configurations)

*Procurement of 80 Iveco light Multi Role Vehicles(LMV)at cost of 220 million Kuna. Additional 200-250 vehicles are being considered for needs of the army.

* Procurement of Advanced Artillery systems, 18x 155 mm Self Propelled Howitzers are to be procured before 2015 to replace obsolete 2S1 self-propelled howitzers. Program is on the back burner as there are more important defense programs and procurement of new howitzers might need to be postponed for few years. Swedish Bofors Archer System and German PzH2000 are most likely candidates for this program. Cost of program - 1.2 billion Kuna.

* Procurement of 550 5-ton army trucks, 200 7.5-ton military trucks and 300 4WD vehicles - program is in a full swing and first batch of MAN (150), Mercedes (30) and Iveco (50) military trucks was delivered. Croatian Army also ordered large numbers of new 4WD vehicles, Mercedes-Benz G-Class - 120, Land Rover Wolf - 60, Toyota Land Cruiser - 50, Nissan Navara - 50, got delivered in 2005-2007. Cost of program - 570-580 million Kuna.

* Modernization of M-84A and M-84A4 Snajper MBTs and upgrade to M-84D and M-95 Degman standard. Program calls for an upgrade and modernization of 75 existing tanks and procurement of additional 29 new tanks over next 4 years due to a plan which requires Croatia to operate at least 104 modern tanks before 2015. Cost of program - 850 million Kuna.

*Introduction of new 5.56 mm NATO standard Assault rifle, Croatian MOD is talking to local arms supplier and testing of new assault rifle is ongoing. Cost of program - 400 million kuna (50 000 rifles with day/night sights and grenade launchers)

*Scores of smaller programs, communication equipment, night vision capability, electronic sensors, NBC equipment, battlefield management systems and modernization of Artillery systems with new sights and electronic fire control systems.

"Other programs:"

**50 000x new assault rifles - 5.56 mm NATO standard – 550 million Croatian Kuna

** Equipping motorized infantry battalion (800-1000men) with the night vision equipment, including advanced optoelectronic and sensor, ground radars, thermal imaging cameras – 120 million Croatian Kuna
** NBC equipment for biological/chemical-decontamination unit – 150 million Croatian Kuna
** Modernization of 3 SA-10 SAM systems - complete
** Procurement of new army engineering vehicles, armored recovery vehicles, mine clearance vehicles and armored personal vehicles designed to withstand mine blasts – 320 million Croatian Kuna
** Procurement of modern communication and battlefield management systems – 50 million Croatian Kuna
** Procurement of new logistic and amphibious vehicles – 250 million Croatian Kuna
** Procurement of 3-4 Artillery Radars – 30-40 million Croatian Kuna
** Procurement of 8-12 Mobile air defense radars – 200-300 million Croatian Kuna
** Procurement of Army Field Hospital - 80-100 million Croatian Kuna
** Procurement of 16 Army Tank transporters, Heavy Equipment Transporters – 80-100 million Croatian Kuna
** Procurement of Bridge laying equipment – 100 million Croatian Kuna

ee also

* Croatian 1st Guard Brigade
* Croatian 104th Brigade
* List of military equipment of Croatia


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