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Romania receives US approval for AIM-9X Sidewinder sale.

To modernize its air to air infrastructure, Romania has received approval from the United States for the acquisition of AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II missiles, signaling a deepening alliance between the two countries. This approval led to the signing of a $70 million contract between Romania and Raytheon.
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Romanian Air force F-16 during training flight  (Picture source: Romanian MoD)

The decision to equip the Romanian Air Force's F-16 fleet with these air-to-air missiles comes in the context of growing concerns about security threats in the region. With Block II technology at its disposal, Romania is ready to enhance its operational readiness and deter potential aggressors.

In january 2024, Romania starts receiving 32 F-16 from Norway, Upon finalization of the agreement with Norway and receipt of the F-16s, Romania will have 49 such fighters, including the 17 units previously acquired from Portugal. These fighters will form three squadrons, allowing Romania to phase out its Soviet-era MiG-21s completely. Defense Minister Angel Tilvar emphasized the excellent condition of the purchased aircraft and stated that the F-16 is a well-known fighter across the globe and will remain in NATO country armies for an extended period.

The U.S. Charge d'Affaires Michael Dickerson hailed this approval as a testament to the enduring partnership between Romania and the United States, emphasizing that the sale transcends mere transactional significance. "This acquisition is not just a transaction; it is a testament to our shared commitment to security and peace," Dickerson remarked. "These advanced missiles will ensure the security of the Romanian skies, thus strengthening our collective defense posture."

The AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II missiles represent the current air-to-air missile technology deployed by the U.S. military. With their precision and reliability, these munitions will equip Romania with a deterrent capability, protecting its airspace against potential threats.

The U.S. Air Force received its 10,000th short-range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) AIM-9X Sidewinder in 2021, marking a significant milestone in the joint program of the U.S. Navy and Air Force led by Raytheon. Despite this, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced its intention to accelerate the production of the AIM-9X Sidewinder, aiming to produce a total of 2,500 missiles to support various branches of the U.S. military and its foreign partners.

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