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Romania receives first F-16s from Norway

One of the first of 32 F-16s for Romania being handed over by Norway's defence minister on 28 November. (Norwegian Armed Forces)

Romania has received from Norway the first of 32 surplus Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft it contracted in November 2022.

The Norwegian Armed Forces announced the transfer of the first three aircraft on 28 November, saying the jets were flown by Romanian Air Force pilots from Rygge Air Station to their future home operating station at the 86th Fetesti Air Base in eastern Romania.

“The sale of the F-16 will strengthen and modernise the defences of Romania, an allied nation along NATO's eastern flank that is also a neighbour of Ukraine,” Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram was quoted as saying at the official handover of the aircraft.

Romania is acquiring 32 F-16AM/BM Block 15 mid-life upgrade (MLU) aircraft, as well as spares and support equipment, from Norway for EUR388 million (USD386 million at the time the deal was finalised in 2022). It is the largest-ever sale of military equipment in Norway's history.

The Norwegian Armed Forces did not disclose which variant(s) of F-16 made up the first delivery batch, but the accompanying press release showed a twin-seat F-16BM with its new Romanian serial number of 1632 as one of the three jets.

Deliveries will run through to the end of 2025, by which time the Romanian Air Force will field 49 F-16s including the 17 F-16AM/BM Block 15 MLU aircraft recently received from Portugal. The Block 15 MLU provides an analogous capability to the US Air Force's (USAF's) F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft.

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