Croatia will buy 89 U.S. Bradley fighting vehicles as part of a plan to form an infantry brigade to aid NATO, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced Wednesday.
Croatia will receive 62 fully equipped and armed versions of the armored vehicles plus another 22 for reserve parts and five for training in a $196 million deal, Plenkovic announced on Twitter.
As part of the agreement, Croatia will pay slightly more than $145 million while the United States will cover $51 million.
“This is a confirmation of good cooperation and I believe that in this way, we have added another piece to the mosaic of our cooperation,” Plenkovic told reporters, according to The Associated Press. “The Croatian army will achieve a new level of quality.”
Croatia, which has been negotiating the vehicle deal since 2017, currently uses Bradley models from as far back as Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s and wants to upgrade the machine guns, missiles, radios and armor, among other parts.
Plenkovic said the new vehicles will begin arriving in 2023.
A member of NATO, Croatia looks to bolster its military equipment to keep up with its neighbor and Russian ally Serbia. The country also must contend with an increasingly aggressive Kremlin, though its president said Tuesday that it would not be sending troops if tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to escalate.