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Romanian government approves buy of 32 F-16s from Norway for 454 mln euro

June 17, 2022 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Romanian government has approved the purchase of 32 F-16s from Norway for €454 million. The purchase will allow the country to retire Soviet-era MiG-21 fighter jets from service.

FAR F-16AM #1617 is seen landing at Aviano AB on October 30th, 2020 for a fuel-stop during the delivery flight. [Photo by R. Zambon]

Romania is expected to fly the plane for at least ten years, according to the ministry.

The acquisition was approved by Romania's parliament at the end of 2021.

Romania currently maintains a fleet of 17 F-16 fighter jets, all of which were purchased from Portugal. The aircraft's current configuration is M5.2R which has capabilities similar to Block 50/52 aircraft. Those will be upgraded to match the Norwegian aircraft equipped with the M6.5.2 configuration, which allows them to fire smarter laser JDAM bombs and AMRAAM-120D missiles.

Aerostar, an aircraft construction and repair company, has been providing maintenance and upgrade services for Romania's F-16 jets since August 2020.

After a two-month suspension following a crash, the defense ministry announced in May that it had secured the required clearances to fly its Soviet-era MiG-21 planes for another year.

Romania aims to purchase Lockheed Martin's F-35 aircraft as part of its Air Force modernization program, according to President Klaus Iohannis.

Following Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Iohannis declared in March that Romania needed to increase defense spending to 2.5 percent of GDP from 2 percent.

Romania, which joined NATO in 2004, has stated that it intends to spend a total of 9.8 billion euros on defense capabilities until 2026.