Romania's Strategic Defense Acquisition: The F-35 Deal

Romania, a European Union and NATO member, has announced plans to purchase 32 latest-generation F-35 fighter planes from U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The deal, which is estimated to be worth $6.5 billion, represents a significant investment in Romania's defense capabilities.



The decision to acquire the F-35s comes in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Romania shares a 650-km (400-mile) border with Ukraine and has witnessed the conflict approach its borders as Moscow has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian ports across the River Danube. In response to these developments, Romania has increased its defense spending to 2.5% of its gross domestic product this year, up from 2%.


Previous Acquisitions

Before this deal, Romania had agreed to buy 32 second-hand F-16 fighter jets from Norway, adding to the 17 it acquired from Portugal in 2016. In July, it announced a regional training hub for F-16 pilots that will ultimately be available to NATO allies and partners, including Ukraine.

The F-35 Deal

The F-35 deal was approved by Romania's Supreme Defense Council (CSAT) in April. The defense ministry is now asking Parliament to agree to begin the purchasing process this year. The deal includes logistics and training services, flight simulators, ammunition, and jets. It also provides an option for Romania to buy another 16 F-35s later. Final contracts are not likely to be signed before next year, and Defense Minister Angel Tilvar said this year the first planes would not be delivered before 2030.



This acquisition represents a significant step forward for Romania's defense capabilities. By investing in state-of-the-art technology like the F-35 fighter planes, Romania is demonstrating its commitment to maintaining a strong defense posture in the face of regional security challenges.

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