The last country to receive a batch of F-16s is Romania. A total of 12 airframes (9 A-models and 3 B-models) were acquired second-hand from Portugal in 2016.
At the end of 2005 rumors were spread out that Romania was in negotiations with Israel to acquire a batch of second-hand F-16A/B's. With the introduction of the F-16I in the IDFAF these aircraft are coming available on the market. The aircraft would receive an extensive upgrade (even including the so-called ACE upgrade) and overhaul in Israel with cooperation of a Romanian aircraft factory. In 2006 it was also reported that Romania has asked for the possibility of acquiring a batch of second-hand Belgian F-16s. In May of 2008 the Pentagon notified Congress of the possible sale of 48 F-16s as part of a deal valued at 4.5 billion dollars. Two dozen F-16s would be new F-16C/D block 50/52 aircraft and the other two dozen would be refurbished surplus USAF F-16C/D block 25 aircraft. In March of 2010 the Romanian government decided only to opt for the second part of this deal, being the purchase of 24 second-hand USAF airframes. This decision was instigated by the difficult financial situation of Romania and the fact that a decision on the replacement of the aging Mig-21's has to be taken. And yet again this was postponed due to severe financial difficulties with none of the previous deals coming ti fruition.
Romania was looking for a replacement of their venerable Mig-21 Lancers for years. Financial difficulties always prevented this from happening. In 2015 the first contacts were laid between Portugal and Romania to acquire a batch of F-16s for the latter. Portugal was selling a number of their 45-airframe string fleet and a deal was signed in 2016 for a batch of 9 A-models and 3 B-models, all updated to the latest MLU standards. This batch first originated from the Peace Atlantis II order that Portugal itself placed with the United States in the 1990's. So this marks the first time F-16s are sold for a second time to fly for a third country in their careers.
FAR F-16AM #1606
is coming in for landing at Aviano AB on December 15th, 2016 en route for delivery to Romania. [Photo by Daniele Faccioli]
The Romanian government has expressed its interest in buying another batch of F-16s in the future to further complement their F-16 fleet. In the short term another 5 airframes (4 A-models and 1 B-model) are needed. Romania is again looking at Portugal to supply the remaining Peace Atlantis II airframes to them all together. In the long term another 36 airframes are projected. Time will tell what will come from this planning.
Please refer to the F-16 Units
section for an overview of units.