TNews - Romania's Defense Ministry is setting its sights on a major leap in military capabilities as it seeks parliamentary approval for a historic acquisition: 32 F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States. With a staggering price tag of approximately USD 6.5 billion, or over IDR 100 trillion, this proposed purchase reflects Romania's commitment to bolstering its national defense and contributing to NATO's collective security.
The decision to pursue these advanced American fighter aircraft came to fruition at a pivotal meeting of the Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT) held in April. The program greenlit by the CSAT entails a two-stage procurement of F-35 aircraft, signaling a significant leap forward in Romania's aerial combat capabilities. As reported by G4Media on Wednesday (27/9/2023), the initial stage involves acquiring two squadrons, totaling 32 aircraft, while the second stage will see the procurement of an additional squadron, comprising 16 aircraft. The substantial budget allocation encompasses not only the acquisition of the cutting-edge aircraft themselves but also factors in the cost of engines, logistics support, comprehensive pilot and personnel training services, and state-of-the-art flight simulators.
Going beyond the aircraft themselves, the Romanian Ministry of Defense has also included special air-to-air and air-to-ground ammunition for air combat and ground target attacks on its shopping list. This multifaceted approach highlights Romania's intention to bolster not only its aerial capabilities but also its ground-based firepower, aiming for a well-rounded and formidable military posture.
Crucially, the requirement to seek parliamentary approval for acquisitions exceeding EUR 100 million, in accordance with Romanian law, underscores the government's dedication to transparency and accountability in the procurement process. The decision to invest in the F-35 fighter jets is a major one, and involving the legislature ensures a comprehensive and informed debate on this crucial national security matter.
Romania's pursuit of the F-35 stealth fighter jets is not an isolated endeavor; it underscores the country's commitment to its role as a NATO member. The United States-led military alliance has widely adopted the F-35 as a standard-bearer for modern air superiority. Romania's move to join this elite club of F-35 operators reflects its alignment with NATO's mission to maintain a robust and unified defense front against potential threats.
Currently, the Romanian Air Force operates F-16 military aircraft, which were purchased from Portugal. However, the future of Romanian aerial capabilities will see the integration of the more advanced F-35 fighter jets. Produced by the American defense giant Lockheed Martin, the F-35 is a single-seat, single-engine multi-role aircraft designed to excel in all weather conditions. Its stealth capabilities are particularly remarkable, making it a formidable force even in contested airspace. Moreover, the F-35 boasts electronic warfare and intelligence capabilities, as well as unparalleled surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, elevating Romania's military intelligence-gathering capabilities to new heights.
Lockheed Martin, as the prime contractor for the F-35 program, brings to bear its extensive expertise in defense technology and aviation. Key partners such as Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems further enhance the aircraft's capabilities, ensuring that Romania will have access to cutting-edge technology and support in maintaining its F-35 fleet.
In conclusion, Romania's bid to acquire 32 F-35 stealth fighter jets represents a significant milestone in the country's pursuit of military modernization and readiness. With a substantial budget allocation and a comprehensive approach encompassing training, ammunition, and logistical support, Romania is poised to take a giant leap forward in its national defense capabilities. As a NATO member, Romania's decision to integrate the F-35 into its military arsenal underscores its commitment to collective security and its determination to play a pivotal role in the alliance's ongoing mission to ensure peace and stability in the region. This acquisition not only enhances Romania's defense capabilities but also solidifies its position as a key player in the evolving landscape of European security.