By Jaroslaw Adamowski
WARSAW: The Romanian Ministry of National Defence has requested the parliament’s approval for the purchase of 32 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, according to Defense Minister Angel Tîlvăr. The planned procurement is estimated to be worth about $6.5 billion.
In an interview with local broadcaster Antena 3, Tîlvăr said his ministry is “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.”
On April 11, Romania’s Supreme Council on National Defense, a state body chaired by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, authorized the ministry to acquire the aircraft for the country’s air force.
The potential deal is to be carried out under the foreign military sales framework, and it will require the approval of the United States Department of State.
The documentation which was submitted to the Romanian parliament indicates that, following the purchase of two squadrons comprising a total of 32 aircraft, Romania could pursue an acquisition of a third squadron consisting of 16 fighter jets.
Owing to the planned procurement, Romania could become the third Eastern European ally, after Poland and the Czech Republic, to operate Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation aircraft in its fleet. Romanian officials hope the country’s military could receive the first aircraft in 2030.