Bucharest, October 24, 2023 – by rbj – The offices of the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament approved, today, that the Ministry of National Defense initiates the procedure for the purchase of 32 F-35 aircraft, worth 6.5 billion USD (without VAT)
The purchase is made within the framework of the endowment program “Multirole aircraft of the 5th generation, F-35, through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) security assistance program”.
The endowment program consists of contracts awarded by one Government to another Government – the Government of Romania assigns to the US Government Letter of Offer and Acceptance type contracts, specific to the Foreign Military Sales Program, with the object of 32 F-35 aircraft, engines, initial logistic support, training services, FMT flight simulators, air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, with an estimated value of USD 6.5 billion (excluding VAT).
“Romania’s military strategy operationalizes the defense dimension established in the country’s National Defense Strategy for the period 2020 – 2024 and specifies the implementation of the objectives of the defense policy and the directions for the development of capabilities derived from the provisions of the White Paper on Defense, 2021 edition. In this sense, for the fulfillment of the national military objectives established by the Military Strategy of Romania, by the Decision of the Supreme Council of Defense of the Country, (…) the Concept of achieving the operational capability of air defense with V-generation multi-role aircraft, by equipping it with F-35 aircraft in two stages: stage I (2 squadrons – 32 aircraft), stage II (1 squadron – 16 aircraft),” the MoU explains.
The legislative steps taken show Bucharest’s intention to have F-35 aircraft in the first years of the next decade.
Romania will have F-35 planes in 2032, provided that the letter of acceptance sent to the United States is signed in 2024, stated Angel Tîlvăr, the Minister of National Defense, in a recent interview with Romanian Television. Also, the Minister of Defense stated that the F-35 program will be discussed in the Romanian Parliament this fall, with the deal to be finalized next year.
“If the acceptance letter is signed in 2024, we will probably have the first devices in 2032. From a temporal point of view it may seem like a distant time span. But you know very well that in the military field procurement elements, military capabilities are not produced off the shelf”, said Angel Tîlvăr, Minister of Defense.
Currently, after the withdrawal of the MiG-21 aircraft from service, Romania operates a squadron of F-16 Fighting Falcon consisting of 17 aircraft purchased from Portugal.
32 Norwegian F-16 AM/BM aircraft in M6.5.2 configuration were also purchased, and the contract also includes spare engines and logistical support. They will arrive in the country in the next period.