As the Romanian authorities have recently announced that they have chosen the F-35 Lightning II to modernize their air fleet. This latest decision places Romania alongside other Eastern European allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic, who have also opted for this fifth-generation fighter jet. The acquisition of F-35s is expected to provide Romania with a significant boost in their airpower capabilities, as they continue to modernize and enhance their fighter jet fleet.
During the April 11 meeting of the Romanian Supreme Council on National Defense (CSAT), chaired by President Klaus Iohannis, a decision was made to continue the modernization of the country’s Air Force with the procurement of the latest-generation F-35 aircraft. A statement from the Romanian president’s office emphasized that these advanced fighter jets are capable of achieving and maintaining air superiority, which is a crucial requirement for ensuring sovereignty in national airspace and defending it if needed.
Details regarding the exact number of fighter jets to be purchased and the value of the planned acquisition have not been disclosed at this time.
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The acquisition of F-35 fighter jets is intended to enhance Romania’s modern fighter jet fleet, which presently includes 17 used F-16s obtained from Portugal. In the previous year, Romania signed an agreement to purchase 32 second-hand F-16s from Norway. As a result, Romania is now part of an increasing number of Eastern European allies who have expressed interest in Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation aircraft. The Czech government decided in July 2022 to begin talks with the United States about procuring 24 F-35 aircraft.
To enhance their air capabilities, Eastern European allies have been turning to the F-35 aircraft. In July 2022, the Czech government initiated negotiations with the United States to acquire 24 F-35s, while Poland signed a deal worth $4.6 billion in January 2020 to purchase 32 F-35 fighters, with delivery set to begin in 2024. Romania’s latest decision to acquire the advanced F-35 fighter jets puts them among these allies.
Romania’s Air Force fleet currently includes 17 used F-16s acquired from Portugal. In addition, Romania signed an agreement in the previous year to purchase 32 second-hand F-16s from Norway. With the latest decision to procure F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, Romania is set to modernize and enhance their fighter jet fleet. The F-35s are designed to achieve and maintain air superiority, a crucial requirement for ensuring sovereignty in national airspace and defending it if needed.