Romanian Defence Ministry asks parliament for permission to buy 32 F-35 fighter jets in a contract worth 6.5 billion dollars.
Romania has begun the process for the most expensive purchase in the history of the armed forces by officially requesting legislative approval in a document sent to the parliament’s leadership to launch the program to buy 32 F-35 fighter jets worth 6.5 billion dollars.
The Supreme Council of Defence of the Country, CSAT, decided in April that Romania would purchase the stealth multirole combat aircraft from the US in a government-to-government deal.
The program approved by CSAT provides for two rounds of purchases of F-35 aircraft. In the first phase, two squadrons of 32 fighter jets will be purchased for the Romanian Air Force. In the second phase, the Romanian Army will buy one squadron of 16 jets.
The army will spend 6.5 billion dollars in the first phase to purchase aircraft, engines, logistical support, pilot and staff training services, and flight simulators. The price includes special air-to-air and air-to-ground ammunition.
“We know it takes a long time to operationalise such a capability. What we propose is to start now and in the perspective of the 2030s, when the F-16 planes we have will exhaust their resource, to be able to switch to the new type of plane,” said Chief of the General Staff of Romanian Defence Forces Daniel Petrescu.
The Romanian Air Force has 17 F-16 military aircraft purchased from Portugal. Another fleet of F-16s was bought from Norway for 388 million euros to ensure the transition to the F-35. The first fighter jets from Norway are expected to be delivered by the end of this year.
With the 32 planes from Norway and another 17 bought from Portugal, Romania will have modernised its air force, which gave up the old Soviet-made Mig-21 LanceR in May.
However, the life resource of the 32 Norwegian F-16s is limited to a maximum of 10 years. The 17 F-16s purchased from Portugal have a much larger resource as these aircraft are at their mid-life. The F-35 program will be implemented after 2030.
Lockheed Martin produces the F-35 fighter jet. The US US weapons maker is the prime contractor for the F-35, with its main partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
Source : Balkan Insight