Croatia's defence ministry has confirmed that six of country’s top instructor pilots – all of them members of Krila Oluje ("Wings of Storm") aerobatic display team – have applied to resign from active duty.

According to sources quoted by local media, the pilots have received a superior offer from Qatar, with the Croatian daily Slobodna Dalmacija reporting that the Gulf state plans to form a display team with its new Pilatus PC-21 trainers to include the Croatian pilots.

Croatian display team - pay Igor Salinger

Igor Salinger/

Submitted on 4 March, the resignation requests will be decided on “after consultation with the pilots and in accordance with law”, the ministry says. It adds that any departure “will not compromise the combat readiness and of the Croatian armed forces, namely the education and training segment within the Croatian air force”.

The ministry says its pilots “have obviously opted for a much better [financial] offer that it could not match”, and notes that the approach "confirms the quality of Croatian air force training, that has been recognised not only in Croatia, but also abroad”.

The six pilots – who are ranked as captains and majors – are assigned to the air force's Zadar base, and fly the Pilatus PC-9 for the Krila Oluje display team.