The US State Department has approved the sale of equipment and services to modernize F-16 fighter jets for Romania.
Bucharest requested the equipment, including KY-58M and KIV-78 cryptographic devices, to modernize 32 F-16 Mid-Life Update Block 10/15 aircraft it recently bought from Norway.
New Equipment for F-16s
The KY-58M is a secure voice module used by US and NATO aircraft, primarily to encrypt radio communication.
The General Dynamics KIV-78 (Identification Friend or Foe) can identify friendly aircraft even in crowded airspace.
The estimated $105-million purchase includes “AN/PYQ-10C simple key loaders, joint mission planning systems, night vision device aviator vision systems, and spare image intensifier tubes.”
“The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by bolstering its operational readiness while enhancing air and defense capabilities with a modernized fleet,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated.
F-16 Fleet Expansion
Romania is expanding its fleet of Western jets after retiring its Soviet-era Mig-21s in May. The country saw 30 accidents involving the Mig aircraft between 1991 and 2022.
The country now has a squadron of 17 F-16s recently bought from Portugal.
The 32 used F-16s Bucharest is getting from Norway will be serviced before delivery. The jets cost Bucharest 388 million euros ($418 million).
Norway is also upgrading its air force with plans to buy 52 F-35s.