MILAN — The Romanian Defence Ministry has awarded Turkish company Baykar a $321 million contract for TB2 drones, according to recently published documents.

The move comes after the the ministry announced its intention last August to procure three TB2 unmanned aerial system packages from the defense contractor for approximately $300 million, pending approval from Parliament.

“The UAS systems to be purchased will be intended for the Romanian Land Forces. Each system includes six aerial platforms with target engagement capabilities (a total of 18 drones). The program also involves the purchase of an initial logistical support package, necessary training and equipment,” the ministry said in a statement at the time.

This week, the Tenders Electronic Daily website, an online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union focused on public procurement projects, published the official contract award notice to the Turkish manufacturer for the production of these systems.

The company is to deliver the drones to the Romanian city Timisoara, where the country’s military used to operate the 93rd Air Base that housed MiG-23 fighters before their retirement. Once received, Romania will become the second European Union member after Poland to operate TB2s, and the third European NATO member to order them beyond Turkey.

These acquisitions are to contribute to ambitions laid out as part of the transformation of the Romanian Army until 2040, which seeks to provide forces with new military equipment and weapon systems that ensure flexibility, expanded situational awareness and increased firepower.

Romania intends to increase its defense budget to 2.5% of gross domestic product in 2023, Bloomberg reported. Last year, the country allocated roughly $6 billion for defense spending.

Earlier this month, a statement issued on the website of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said the government is also looking to buy F-35 fighter jets to modernize its Air Force.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.

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