WARSAW — Romanian Defense Minister Mihnea Motoc has unveiled plans to purchase 12 F-16 fighter jets in 2017, with the acquisition expected to be launched by the end of this year, reports local daily Gandul.
Motoc said that the Romanian Cabinet is aiming to acquire used fighter jets from other NATO member states.
“We don’t know from whom we will buy the aircraft. To date, we have sent out requests for information to all the allied countries which operate such planes, including the US and five European allies. We are awaiting their response,” Motoc said.
Under the plan, the F-16s are to replace Romania’s outdated Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-21 fighters. The estimated value of the procurement was not disclosed.
In 2013, the Romanian government signed a deal to acquire 12 used F-16 Block 15 fighters from Portugal under a deal worth about €628 million (US $691.5 million). The aircraft, which will be upgraded by Lockheed Martin, are to be delivered to Romania this September. The US manufacturer will design, integrate and support the installation of updated F-16 software.
The Romanian fleet of F-16s will be deployed to the Fetesti military base which is located in Borcea, in close proximity of the country's Black Sea shore.