A purchase of 32 American military aircraft is in plans
The Ministry of National Defense of Romania has submitted a formal request to the Parliament for approval of a $6.5 billion procurement plan aimed at upgrading the nation's aerial capabilities. This proposed initiative, as reported by Sarbaz.kz citing Romanian media sources, encompasses the acquisition of 32 F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter aircraft, along with the necessary logistical support infrastructure and training facilities.
This procurement bid constitutes the largest defense order in Romania's history. The acquisition is envisaged to be executed in two distinct phases. The initial phase involves the procurement of a squadron of F-35A fighters, comprising a total of 32 aircraft. Subsequently, during the second phase, an additional 16 aircraft are planned to be procured.
If these planned acquisitions come to fruition, Romania would emerge as the third Eastern European nation, alongside Poland and the Czech Republic, to operate fifth-generation fighters manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The endeavor underscores Romania's strategic intent to enhance its aerial defense capabilities and align itself with the evolving defense dynamics of the region.
The High Council of National Defense of Romania (CSAT) formalized its procurement proposal in April 2023. Pending parliamentary approval, negotiations with the United States Department of State regarding the acquisition are slated to commence in the forthcoming year. This timeline positions Romania to comprehensively modernize its Air Force by 2032, should the endeavor receive the green light.
The F-35A fighter jets are intended to replace the aging F-16 fleet, acquired in two tranches. Furthermore, these state-of-the-art fifth-generation fighters are earmarked to supplant the retired MiG-21 Lancer aircraft that were phased out earlier this year.