The Ministry of Defence has sent Romania's Parliament a request for approval to purchase 32 F-35 fifth-generation multi-role fighter jets in the initial phase. The estimated cost of the programme is $6.5 billion.
,,We are taking the first step towards equipping the Romanian Air Force with a state-of-the-art capability that will give Romania a strengthened status in the security architecture on the Eastern Flank and in the Black Sea region", said Minister Angel Tîlvăr, according to the source.
Romania has taken the first official steps towards the F-35 Lightning II, after the Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT) approved in early April the "concept for achieving operational air defence capability with 5th generation multirole aircraft".
Romania will have F-35 aircraft in 2032, provided that the letter of acceptance sent to the United States is signed in 2024, said Angel Tîlvăr, Minister of National Defence, in a recent interview with Romanian Television. The Defence Minister also said that the F-35 programme will be discussed in the Romanian Parliament this autumn, with the deal to be finalised next year.
,,If the letter of agreement is signed in 2024, we will probably have the first aircraft in 2032. From a time point of view, this may seem a long way off. But you know very well that in the military field, procurement elements, military capabilities are not produced off the shelf'', said Angel Tîlvăr, Minister of Defence.
Currently, after the withdrawal of MiG-21s from service, Romania operates a squadron of F-16 Fighting Falcons consisting of 17 aircraft purchased from Portugal.
Thirty-two Norwegian F-16 AM/BM aircraft in M6.5.2 configuration have also been purchased and the contract includes spare engines and logistical support. These are due to arrive in the country in the next period.
And the first squadron purchased from Portugal and the other two that will come from Norway are going through the Mid-Life Update (MLU) Block 15 programme.
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