Romania’s government approved a bill for the purchase of 32 second-hand Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters from Norway on June 16, 2022.
The order is estimated at around €454 million and includes the training of support personnel by the United States Air Force.
“This solution ensures, in a short period of time, the creation at the level of the squadrons of the minimum operational, maintenance, planning and flying capability strictly necessary for the safe operation of the F-16 aircraft to be purchased,” the Romanian Ministry of National Defense explained in a statement.
The Romanian Air Force already flies 17 F-16s, acquired from Portugal in 2016. These aircraft will replace the aging MiG-21 LanceR fighters that currently constitute the backbone of the RoAF fighter fleet, with about 20 currently in operation.
But after experiencing multiple incidents, the last on March 2, 2022, the authorities announced they would speed up the acquisition process for the Norwegian fighters. After a month of grounding pending a safety review of the fleet, the RoAF resumed flights with MiG-21 LanceR fighters on May 23, 2022. It will continue to operate them for another year until May 15, 2023.