The United States has approved an upgrade of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft for Romania.
The US has approved an upgrade to the F-16s that Romania is receiving from Portugal. (Romanian Air Force)
Announced on 3 November, the State Department approval covers modernisation of Mid-Life Update (MLU) Block 15 F-16 aircraft that Romania is currently receiving from Portugal, as well as logistical support for an estimated USD175.4 million.
“The government of Romania has requested to buy upgrades to the avionics, software, communication equipment, navigational aids, and cockpit of its MLU Block 15 F-16 aircraft fleet, along with additional logistics support,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said. “The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by upgrading its avionics to meet interoperability requirements for encrypted communications systems used by NATO forces. This increased secure communications capability will assist Romania in the defense of its homeland and US personnel stationed there. Romania has demonstrated a significant financial commitment to modernising its military, which will further enhance its interoperability with NATO.”
As noted by the DSCA, the modernisation will comprise equipping the F-16s with LN-260 Global Positioning System (GPS); Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS JTRS); AN/APX-126 advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF); ARC-210 radios; KIV-78 cryptographic appliques; other secure communications, navigation, and encryption devices; and Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) software. Aircraft minor modification, integration and test support, support equipment, software and software support; personnel training; spare and repair parts; publications and technical documentation, US government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and programme support will also be provided.