Romanian lawmakers unanimously approve $6.5 billion order of 32 F-35 fighters

U.S. Air Force photo

Romanian parliamentary defense committees have unanimously approved the purchase of 32 F-35 aircraft, making it the most expensive military acquisition in the country’s history.  

The decision was reached in a joint agreement by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate’s defense commissions and is set to cost $6.5 billion, according to a document seen by local news portal G4Media

The procurement is slated to take place in two increments. During the first phase, Romania will acquire an initial batch of 32 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters, enough to equip two squadrons. A second phase will see the country procure an additional squadron of 16 jets. 

The $6.5 billion earmarked also covers initial logistics support, training services, flight simulators, and air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions. 

Romania’s Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT) confirmed the F-35 order on April 11, 2023. The request was then sent by the Ministry of Defense at the end of September 2023. 

The Romanian Air Force will use the fifth-generation F-35A fighters to phase out its F-16 aircraft, acquired as part of a first modernization effort. Romania began with the acquisition of 17 second-hand Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters from Portugal in 2016, followed by an additional 32 F-16s from Norway in 2022. These new aircraft have replaced the venerable MiG-21 LanceR fighters, which were officially retired on May 15, 2023. 

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