Romania Plans to Buy Additional ex-Portuguese Air Force F-16s

Romania intends to purchase five additional secondhand F-16s from Portugal as per a statement by Romanian Defense Minister Gabriel Les.  Romania already purchased 12 F-16s from Portugal in 2013 as a replacement for its Air Force’s legacy fleet of Soviet-era MiG-21 Lancer fighters.  The latest order will supplement the first batch and allow the Romanian Air Force to field a complete squadron.

The original 2013 order involved the transfer of nine single-seat F-16s and three two-seaters to Romania.  The single-seat variants came directly from Portuguese Air Force stocks, whereas the two-seaters were purchased by Portugal in used condition from the U.S. through its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program for resale.

The estimated total cost of the F-16 acquisition program was EUR628 million.

All 12 aircraft underwent revamps and upgrades by Lockheed Martin prior to delivery, which began on September 27, 2016, with the handover of the first six units.  This was followed by the delivery of three more on December 13, 2016, with the final three units arriving in late 2017.

The same process will occur this time as well, with the five additional fighters modernized prior to transfer to Romania.

Once this transfer is completed, Romania will seek to add 36 more F-16s via transfer from U.S. or other friendly nation stocks.

In the longer term, Romania hopes to procure a fifth-generation fighter, which would then serve as a replacement for the F-16s.

Image: Stockvault/Nicolas Raymond

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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