Budgetary woes cast doubt on Romanian fighter procurement plans
By Gareth Jennings
Budgetary constraints in Romania make it unlikely that the country's air force will be able to field the number of fighters it needs to fulfil its obligations to NATO once the current MiG-21 fleet is retired from 2017, a senior service official said on 7 November.
Speaking at the IQPC International Fighter Conference in London, Major General Victor Strimbeanu, Chief of Training and Doctrine for the Romanian Air Force (RoAF), said that the RoAF has a desire to replace its current MiG-21 Lancer (upgraded 'Fishbed') platforms with 78 current-generation fighters, but that the lack of funds means this number will not likely be achieved, seriously undermining the country's air defence capability.
"We would like 78 aircraft, but 54 is the minimum that we require, and 48 is the number we can currently afford," he said.
With its Israeli-upgraded Lancer fighters set to be retired from 2017, the RoAF is looking to Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon platforms. These surplus aircraft will bridge the gap between the retirement of the Lancer and an eventual Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) buy in about 2025.186 of 631 words
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