WASHINGTON — Romania announced it wanted to buy Raytheon-made Patriot air and missile defense systems from the U.S. government in April and has been on the fast track to getting those systems, signing an agreement to make the purchase Wednesday.
Romania signed a letter of offer and acceptance, which, according to Raytheon, “paves the way for Romania’s Patriot force to rapidly reach Initial Operational Capability, and sets the stage for the U.S. government to begin contract negotiations with Raytheon.”
Romania will be the 14th Patriot customer worldwide.
According to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification of the possible sale to Romania, the country wants seven Patriot Configuration 3+ units, complete with radars, a control station, antennas, launching stations and power plants. Also included are 56 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile TBM (GEM-T) missiles and 168 Patriot Advanced Capability — 3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles.
The sale, according to the notice, could be worth up to $3.9 billion.
The procurement of the Patriot system will contribute to Romania meeting its NATO commitment of spending at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. While in Romania in July for the U.S. Army’s major military exercise Saber Guardian, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the U.S. Army Europe commander, said he expected Romania would meet its NATO commitment for the first time this year.
“This procurement will create jobs in both the U.S. and Romania,” Tom Laliberty, Raytheon’s vice president of integrated air and missile defense, said in a statement Wednesday. “Raytheon is developing long-term relationships with Romanian companies to help us build and sustain Romania’s Patriot fleet.”
Poland is slated to become another customer of Patriot. The U.S. State Department cleared a potential $10.5 billion sale for four Patriot air-and-missile defense systems to the country on Nov. 17. Poland’s deal is more complicated because it wants a command and control system that is still in development with the U.S. Army, which also makes the systems more expensive due to the unique customization.