TechF-16 fighters touch down: Romania's leap in army modernization

F‑16 fighters touch down: Romania's leap in army modernization

F-16 on the airport tarmac, illustrative photo
F-16 on the airport tarmac, illustrative photo
Images source: © Ministry of Defense of Norway
8:53 PM EST, November 24, 2023

Romania, amid a massive army modernization effort, proclaimed its plan to retire Soviet-era weapons a few months ago. This includes the decommissioning of MiG-21 fighters. Fortunately, suitable replacements were swiftly identified, and necessary agreements were promptly executed. As a result, F-16 fighters are now likely to make an appearance in the Black Sea.

Just this week, the Romanian Defense Ministry confirmed the arrival of three F-16 fighters, experienced in operation through the Norwegian air forces, at the 86th Air Base in Fetesti.

An agreement with Norway stipulates Romania's acquisition of 32 F-16 fighters, an assortment of spare parts, and a comprehensive training package for Romanian personnel. The deal stands at a value of 388 million euros.

Romania receives first F-16s

The arrival of the first F-16s from Norway supports earlier predictions, as indicated by the Romanian Defense Minister, Angel Tilvar. Back in July, he announced that the aircrafts would start landing in Romania before the year's end, with a total of eight units expected. The delivery process is scheduled to continue until 2024.

The F-16 is a renowned fighter jet produced by the American corporation Lockheed Martin. It holds the title for the most prevalent combat aircraft worldwide and is in service for numerous nations. The F-16 spans a length of about 49 feet and can reach a maximum speed of 2 Mach (over 1,304 mph).

The F-16s primary weaponry includes a six-barrel M61 Vulcan 20 mm gun and can operate at altitudes reaching up to 9 miles. Additionally, the jet can carry a more formidable arsenal under its wings. This expanded capability includes compatibility with rocket missiles (such as AIM-120 AMRAAM or anti-ship Harpoon) and bombs CBU-87, CBU-89, GBU-10, GBU-12, Paveway, and JDAM.

Presently, Romania possesses 17 of these aircraft, previously procured from Portugal. The Romanian authorities intend to deploy F-16s for at least another decade. They are then planning to substitute them with F-35 fighters, but the execution of this contract with the USA will require a considerable wait.

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