WASHINGTON — Romania has requested to buy Patriot air-and-missile defense systems from the U.S. government, but details are scant.
"Romania has announced their intent to enhance their defensive capability by procuring Patriot," Raytheon confirmed in a statement sent to Defense News.
"Raytheon has a longstanding relationship with Romania, and will work closely with the U.S. and Romanian governments to ensure this NATO partner achieves it defense objectives," the company said.
According to a Reuters report Thursday, the Patriot systems would be part of an integrated air defense system that includes six F-16 fighter jets Romania recently procured. The acquisitions this year could put the country in compliance with the NATO defense spending standard of 2 percent of gross domestic product. Romania did not reach that goal in 2016.
Romania has been a member of NATO since 2004, and it hosts an important missile defense radar — Aegis Ashore — set up to create a shield against Iranian missile threats. The radar was made operational in 2015.
Poland is also in the process of formalizing a deal, which includes major Polish industry participation, with Raytheon to buy eight Patriot systems for roughly $7.6 billion, with hopes of closing close on it by the end of the year. Poland will also host an Aegis Ashore site, which is currently in construction and expected to become operational by the end of 2018.
A total of 13 countries own Patriot systems, including five NATO partners.
Romania’s procurement would contribute to a growing number of foreign-owned Patriot systems, particularly in Europe, as the threat from Russian aggression in the region continues to foster heartburn and is motivating such requests for capability.
U.S. Patriot batteries are spread thin across the globe, and units manning these systems have some of the longest deployments across the force. The U.S. Army has sought to partly alleviate the burden on Patriot operators by increasing the number of foreign partners that can contribute with their own systems.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.