How to implement modern technologies in Croatian defense system?


  • Karla Juničić


Zagreb, 271119.
Konferencija Buducnost hrvatske obrambene industrije i nove tehnologije u organizaciji Jutarnjeg lista i Ministarstva obrane RH.
Na fotografiji: Damir Krsticevic, Ana Hanzekovic.
Foto: Davor Pongracic / CROPIX
Davor Pongracic / CROPIX

Ana Hanžeković, owner of Hanzamedia and Damir Krstičević, Minister of Defence

''Croatia needs a strong defense industry that keeps pace with modern technologies, '' said Damir Krstičević, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense at today's conference '' The Future of Defense Industry and New Technologies '' organized by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Croatia and Jutarnji List.

The defense industry is one of the drivers of the Croatian economy, and in this area Croatia has already proven its innovativeness and products of the Croatian defense industry are already used in the IT sector, food or pharmaceutical industries.

- But what is the future of the industry, how is it advancing regarding new technologies such as artificial intelligence or 5G technology and how to improve education to cope with contemporary challenges - said Goran Ogurlić, editor-in-chief of Jutarnji List in his introduction speech.

New and technologically advanced solutions are created in synergy with the Croatian Army and Croatian scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators, explained Damir Krstičević.
He noted the guidelines for future development for future Croatian defense industry which include:

1. Procurement of a multi-purpose defense aircraft, for which the Republic of Croatia is ready to send a request for quotations to several countries
2. Replacement of existing helicopter platforms. The United States has donated two new Black Hawk helicopters and two additional helicopters and believes that Croatia will accept these offers through the national procedure by the end of the year.
3. The third step is to strengthen the firepower of the Croatian ground army by equipping and upgrading existing supplies and purchasing new combat vehicles. Krstičević has announced for the first time that Croatia has selected 60 Bradley vehicles and 24 vehicle parts.

- In the next year we expect delivery of these vehicles to Croatia and their refreshment and modernization in Đuri Đaković - he said.

He also announced the possibility of cooperation between Đuro Đaković and the American company BAE Systems in order to establish a repair center for Bradley vehicles for this part of Europe in Slavonski Brod, a city in eastern Croatia, near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

- All these projects simultaneously open a new page in cooperation of Croatian companies with businessmen from the partner countries - said Krstičević.

Cyber or terrorist threats, newly developped robot systems and softwares, all affect the rapid advancement of technology that will affect our Croatian way of defense, explained Mirko Šundov, Chief of General Staff of the CAF.

During the conference it was emphasized the important role of educational institutions who can train new researches in the field.

- Faculties and educational institutions must play a key role sine the quality of our researchers and the education system depends on the defense future of Croatia - explained Krešimir Ćosić, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Alan Company.

In this regard it is important to learn how to keep young experts and professionals in Croatia and create the institutional environment which fosters innovations.

Daniel Fiott, Editor-in-Chief for Security and Defense at the EUISS-EUISS Institute for Security Studies, explained the geopolitical uncertainty that the EU currently has and how it adjusts to new challenges. The great concern in the EU is the incompatibility of new technologies and artificial intelligence that are being developed in China and Europe. This concern is present especially regarding the ethical and strategic aspects of technology, he explained

- The European AI system will look different, but the Chinese industry is developing it strategically," he said, citing the global leadership China is undertaking regarding investments in AI.

The European Union is more moderate in this regard and is investing around € 1.2 billion to invest in AI development, but countries that are "leading the development of new technologies are those that invest in their people" and that foster "a mentality to develop innovation and new technologies". he explained.

- Brussels is currently undergoing through a transition process and a paradigm shift has taken place. Defense is not just about crisis management anymore, it's about how to protect citizens from new threats like cyber threats - said Fiott, stressing that future close EU-NATO cooperation will be crucial because of the new challenges.

He noted the importance of 47 PESCO projects for the development of the military capabilities of EU Member States, the 20 commitments agreed by the Heads of State to fulfill these projects and investments in defense mechanisms, as well as the European Commission instrument - the European Defense Fund - a financial instrument from which it will be available 13 billion euros for member states.

During the panel discussion the experts in the field of new technologies mentioned few of the projects and innovations that are currently being developed in Croatia among which is the electronic firearm, mentioned by Željko Pavlin, CEO of HS Product, Croatian firearms manufacturing company.
Ivica Nekić, Head of Alan Agency announced that Croatian company DOK-ING, which manufactures electric vehicles, is in its final stage of developing an autonomous vehicle for defense purpose.