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Romania looks to buy 20 more F-16s

14 March 2017
A Romanian Air Force F-16AM: one of a dozen F-16s bought from Portugal in 2013. Romania is now looking for another 20 F-16s from the United States. Source: RoAF

Romania is looking to increase the size of its fighter fleet after the government decided to apportion 2% of GDP for defence in 2017. The Parliament and Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) have approved the decision.

"My intention is to finalise this year the decision to have another 20 F-16 fighters. The Romanian Air Force has nine now and there will be 12 by the end of the year, but we need more to strengthen our air force capability. As a matter of principle Romania intends to buy these 20 F-16 fighters from the United States. All further details will be announced [in due course", Defence Minister Beniamin Les told the Romanian parliament on 13 February.

Romania bought 12 F-16s from Portugal for EUR181 million (USD203 million) in September 2013. These include nine F-16AM single-seaters and three F-16BM two-seaters and were bought via C N Romtehnica under the Peace Carpathian programme, with third-party transfer authorisation coming from the US government.

Les also announced in Parliament that Romania's procurement of four Damen Sigma 10514 corvettes for EUR1.6 billion is to be cancelled because of the "illegal procedure of not having parliamentary approval", although he added that another tender will soon be launched because "the needs of the naval forces are high".

For the Romanian Ministry of Defence reaching 2% of GDP for defence is significant after more than 15 years of inconsistent procurement, especially given the country's increasing strategic importance and NATO engagement.

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