Romania Selects Used F-16s as a Stop-gap Measure

AIN Defense Perspective » April 1, 2010
Romania is no stranger to the F-16, having hosted U.S. Air Force aircraft dur...
Romania is no stranger to the F-16, having hosted U.S. Air Force aircraft during the 2006 Viper Lance exercise, in which F-16s flew against Romania’s Lancer fighters. Here F-16s from the 52nd Fighter Wing operate from Mihail Kogaliniceanu Air Base.
April 1, 2010, 6:11 AM

In late March the Romanian defense council approved the acquisition of used Lockheed Martin F-16s as a stop-gap measure to fill the air force’s new fighter requirements. The aircraft concerned are 24 U.S. Air Force F-16C/D Block 25 aircraft that are currently stored in the service’s aircraft “boneyard” at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Ariz. The U.S. Air Force will provide the 25-year-old aircraft for free, but Romania will pay approximately $1.3 billion for them to be overhauled and upgraded, in addition to personnel training. At the same time, Romania announced plans to follow up at a later date with a purchase of 24 new-build F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft, and ultimately seeks to acquire 24 F-35 Lightning IIs to replace the older F-16s.

Romania launched a program to replace its Lancer fighters in 2007. The Lancer is a MiG-21 that was upgraded in partnership with Elbit Systems. Although the avionics of the Lancer are adequate, the airframes are aging, and are scheduled for retirement in 2013. A number of proposals were made to Romania for its 48-aircraft requirement, including former Israeli F-16As and several new-build options from European manufacturers. The U.S. F-16 option was notified to Congress in May 2008.

Romania’s decision has yet to be ratified by parliament, and has raised some eyebrows elsewhere in Europe, with both Saab and Eurofighter raising questions about the costs associated with the deal. The lack of any offsets has been highlighted, as well as the high operational costs that could make the F-16 deal more expensive in the long term.

The weapons the F-16s will employ also remains in question, and there has been no clue in either recent announcements or the May 2008 DSCA notification. Romania’s Lancers use primarily the French Magic II and Israeli Python 3 missiles for air defense duties, as well as a range of Israeli and Russian air-to-ground ordnance. Both air-to-air missiles have previously been integrated on the F-16.

FILED UNDER: 
Share this...

Please Register

In order to leave comments you will now need to be a registered user. This change in policy is to protect our site from an increased number of spam comments. Additionally, in the near future you will be able to better manage your AIN subscriptions via this registration system. If you already have an account, click here to log in. Otherwise, click here to register.

 
X