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Romania plans acquisition of 32 F-35 Lightning II Multirole fighter in $6.5 Billion Deal.

| 2023

In an interview with the Romanian newspaper Antena 3 on August 10, 2023, the Romanian Minister of Defense, Angel Tîlvăr, announced that the ministry had sought parliamentary approval for the acquisition of 32 F-35 Lightning II multirole fighter jets. This initiative aims to significantly enhance the country's aerial capabilities and fully embrace its strategic role on NATO's eastern flank.

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Romania plans acquisition of 32 F 35 Lightning II Jets in 6.5 Billion Deal 925 003  F-35 Lightning II, this advanced fighter jet is renowned for its advanced stealth, versatility, and ability to operate in diverse environments and missions. (Picture source: US Dod)

The acquisition project is estimated to be around $6.5 billion and follows the authorization granted by Romania's Supreme Council for National Defense on April 11. According to documents presented to the Romanian parliament, the plan entails purchasing two squadrons comprising a total of 32 fighter jets. Additionally, Romania might consider acquiring a third squadron consisting of 16 fighter jets, further bolstering its air power.

Romania would thus become the third Eastern European country to incorporate the F-35 Lightning II into its fleet, joining Poland and the Czech Republic in utilizing Lockheed Martin's fifth-generation aircraft. To date, the F-35 operates from 21 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 655 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,380 pilots and 10,670 maintainers trained on the aircraft.

Regarding the technical specifications and capabilities of the F-35 Lightning II, this advanced fighter jet is renowned for its advanced stealth, versatility, and ability to operate in diverse environments and missions. Equipped with modern avionics and combat systems technology, the F-35 offers both air superiority and advanced ground attack capabilities, making it a crucial asset for any modern air force.

This Romanian commitment to acquiring American aircraft is not a recent development. Seeking to modernize its fighter jet fleet since 2007 to replace its MiG-21s, Romania has consistently shown interest in American aircraft. It acquired 17 F-16A/B Block 15 MLUs from Portugal, completing deliveries in 2021. In 2013 and 2019, Romania signed agreements with Portugal for a total of 17 F-16s. In 2021, it also concluded a contract with Norway for the purchase of an additional 32 F-16s. Moreover, Romania has received approval for upgrading its existing F-16s from Norway.

Furthermore, Romania has already volunteered to host NATO's new F-16 school on its territory and train Ukrainian pilots. Additionally, as a neighboring country to Ukraine, Romania plays a crucial role as a rear base for NATO equipment supply and repairs for damaged equipment in Ukraine. This multi-faceted approach underscores Romania's dedication to modernizing its defense capabilities and reinforcing regional and international cooperation.

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