The structure of the defense, beginning in 1991 in connection with the disintegration of Yugoslavia, was based on the former situation in Yugoslavia, where, after an initial service in the National People’s Army, the conscript was placed in war in its own sub-republic’s territorial defense with its guerrilla warfare principles. In 1991, the creation of its own national guard of about 20,000 men began. The war between Croatia and Serbia and the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina came to an end in the 1995 peace agreement in Dayton. In 1996, Croatia pledged to stay under a ceiling of 31,000 men and six months of military service.
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The defense comprises (2006) 20,800 men organized in an army of 14,000 men, 109,000 men fully staffed, with four army corps. The Navy has 2,500 men, 10,800 men fully staffed, with two submarines, two larger battleships and five patrol boats. The Air Force has 3,300 men, 8,200 men fully manned, with 27 fighter aircraft and 28 armed helicopters. Croatia has 10,000 armed police officers. The country has reported interest in being integrated into NATO; such a decision can be taken at the earliest in 2008. Defense costs increased during the fighting in the 1990s and amounted to 6.8% of GDP in 1996, to 2006, at 0.9% of GDP. Croatia participates in peacekeeping operations with observers in eight countries and with a platoon in Afghanistan (ISAF). To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that HRV stands for Croatia.
Croatia’s defense overview
Croatia has voluntary first-time service for eight weeks. The country has been a member of NATO since 2009. According to IISS figures, in 2018 the total personnel force was 15,200 active personnel, and a reserve of 18,350, in addition to 3,000 semi-military.
The army had 10,750 active personnel in 2018. Heavy equipment included 75 M-84 tanks (variant of T-72 licensed in former Yugoslavia), 101 storm tanks and 198 armored personnel vehicles.
The Air Force had 1300 active personnel. Materials included eleven fighter of a MiG-21, two light transport, 22 trainers and 48 helicopters, as well as moderately heavy drones.
The Navy had 1300 active personnel, five patrol boats (270-385 tonnes), one minesweeper, five landings and one auxiliary vessel.
The Coast Guard was established in 2007 as part of the Navy, and has four patrol boats and three auxiliary vessels.
In 2018, Croatia participated in NATO operations in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 123 personnel, and in Serbia (KFOR) with 35 personnel. Croatia had also deployed 230 personnel in Lithuania (Enhanced Forward Presence).
In addition, Croatia participated in UN operations, including in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with one personnel, and in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with six observers.