Romania’s ambitious plan: purchasing 48 F-35 fighters

By Defence Industry Europe

The Romanian Ministry of National Defence plans to acquire F-35A fighters for its tactical air squadrons. Each squadron will consist of 16 aircraft, resulting in a total of 48 aircraft purchased from the American defence giant, Lockheed Martin.


The procurement process will be divided into two phases, with the first phase set to commence in 2023. This initial phase will encompass negotiations for the acquisition of 32 F-35 aircraft (for two squadrons), spare engines, initial logistical support, training services, flight simulators, as well as air-to-air and air-to-ground ammunition. The estimated expenditure for this stage is approximately USD 6.5 billion USD. The exact quantity of supplementary equipment will be determined during negotiations, following the commencement of the procurement procedure.


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The second phase is expected to be significantly less expensive, as it will focus solely on acquiring 16 aircraft for the purpose of equipping the third planned squadron. The second purchase will take place several years after the first, as budget conditions allow.

The Romanian Air Force (Forțele Aeriene Române) currently operates 17 F-16AM/BM aircraft, which were acquired from Portugal a few years ago. Romania is still awaiting the arrival of 32 F-16AM/BM fighters, which were purchased from Norway in November 2022.


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The delivery of the Norwegian F-16s to Romania will be divided into two phases, with the first planned for the end of 2023 and the second in 2024. The remaining operational lifespan of the Norwegian aircraft is estimated to be around 10 years. These F-16s serve as transitional aircraft, allowing Romania to smoothly transition to the anticipated next-generation multirole fifth-generation fighters.


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