Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Top Croatian defense officials presented their budget plans for 2017, marking a roughly 7 percent funding increase from 2016.
The plan was presented to the country's lawmakers by the defense ministry's procurement chief Branko Pribolšan, who insisted on increasing transparency for the government's military-related purchases.
"We have today seen a well-concieved public presentation of a highly complex process that public procurement for the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces along with the planned acquisitions," he said in a press release.
Croatia's defense budget for 2017 raises the country's procurement spending by $57 million. While this represents a 7 percent increase from the year before, it falls short of the country's $1.04 billion plan in 2008.
Under the new plan, Croatia's Ministry of Defense will focus on constructing five new coastal patrol vessels, modify PzH 2000 howitzers, and purchase OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopters formerly operated by the U.S. Army. The new budget also funds the construction of a new command facility in Pentrinja.
Croatia's other defense projects for 2017 include medium-lift helicopter overhauls, ordnance procurement, and M-84 main battle tank upgrades.