Following a meeting of the CSAT (Supreme Council for National Defense), Romania has elected to establish a pilot training facility for the operation of F-16 fighter jets within its borders.
“With other allies and the company manufacturing these fighters, a regional center will be created in Romania to train pilots for these aircraft,” the CSAT said in a statement. “Romanian pilots of US-made F-16s will be trained here and the center will then be open to pilots from NATO allies and partners, including Ukraine,”
The facility will initially focus on training Romanian pilots who operate F-16 aircraft, later expanding its scope to include pilots from other nations. To replace the aging MiG-21 LanceR fighters that currently constitute the backbone of Romania’s fighter fleet, two batches of second-hand Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters have been purchased: 17 from Portugal in 2016 and 32 from Norway in 2022.
The international coalition to help Ukraine procure F-16 fighters
The establishing of the pilot training facility in Romania will take place as part of an international coalition led by the Netherlands and Denmark. This coalition has undertaken the responsibility for providing F-16 fighters to Ukraine and training their pilots on this advanced platform.
This collaborative effort gains even more significance with the recent announcement made by Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen, that the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) would retire its fleet of F-16 fighter jets earlier than previously planned. These aircraft will be redirected toward the coalition’s effort to provide F-16 fighters to Ukraine.