The Romanian government has requested parliamentary approval to purchase 32 F-35 fighter jets, according to defense minister Angel Tilvar.
Tilvar said the country was “taking the first step towards equipping the Romanian Air Force with a state-of-the-art capability which will give Romania a consolidated status in the security architecture on [NATO’s] eastern flank and in the Black Sea region,” about the planned purchase in an interview.
The Romanian president-led Romanian Supreme Council on National Defense approved the acquisition in April.
The potential deal will be carried out under the foreign military sale framework requiring the approval of the US State Department.
Option to Buy Additional Aircraft
The estimated $6.5-billion planned procurement includes an option to acquire an additional 12 aircraft, Romania Insider revealed, citing the request document.
The first aircraft could be operational in 2030.
The country currently operates a fleet of 17 F-16 jets it recently bought from Portugal after retiring its entire fleet of Mig-21s.
Bucharest has also bought 32 used F-16s from Norway for 388 million euros ($418 million).
The aircraft will be modernized with the help of the US, including the integration of KY-58M and KIV-78 cryptographic devices and KIV-78 Identification Friend or Foe.