Romania to Purchase Used F-16 Jets from Portugal
(Source: Xinhua; published April 23, 2013)
BUCHAREST --- Romania will operate in 2017 a 12-strong squadron of F-16 multirole fighters purchased from Portugal, to replace the current Soviet-built MIG-21 Lancers, the country's Defence Minister Mircea Dusa said on Monday.

Dusa paid last week an official visit to Portugal and discussed the possible acquisition with his counterpart Jose Pedro Aguiar-Branco.

"By the end of May, we will probably finalize documents with the Portuguese party and subsequently, until September - with the American party, so that we resume the multirole aircraft equipping program at the scale of a squadron, i.e. 12 planes," said the official, specifying that "we will also tackle the amounts to be paid," when negotiations will have been completed.

Dusa's predecessor Corneliu Dobritoiu announced last autumn that Romania will pay around 670 million euros over five years for these fighter jets. "Only about 120 million euros go to paying for the aircraft, the rest being logistic support, which would have been the same if we had purchased new aircraft," he explained.

Romania and Portugal have a deadline this June to complete negotiations, Dusa said that the package included everything necessary for the operation of the planes: the training of the pilots, maintenance, upgrading and everything else.

According to sources, the fighters are among the 25 F-16s delivered to Portugal by the United States in 1999 under the Peace Atlantis II Program. Prior to that, they had been used by the U.S. Air Force since 1984 before they were placed in storage.

The aircrafts are in "very good" condition, according the Romanian expert teams sent to Portugal to evaluate the technical condition of the multi-purpose jets with the assistance of U.S. experts.

The Romanian Air Force operates some 48 MiG-21 Lancer jet fighters which, after 40 years of missions, are towards the end of their flight resources.

Though the fighter jets from Portugal are already 30-years-old, they can be used for at least 20 more years, according to experts.

Romania's neighbour Bulgaria had also expressed interest in nine used F-16s from Portugal. (ends)



Bilateral Meeting with the Portuguese Defence Minister
(Source: Romanian Ministry of National Defence; dated April 16, 2013)
The Minister of National Defence, Mircea Duşa, made an official visit to Portugal on Tuesday, 16 April, at the invitation of his counterpart, José Pedro Aguiar-Branco.

The two officials’ talks focused on military bilateral relations and ways of furthering them. The two ministers reiterated that Romania and Portugal are reliable defence partners and agreed to resume the reunions of the Defence Joint Committee.

The main topic on the agenda was the acquisition of F-16 aircraft from Portugal. The two ministers reviewed the technical negotiations that took place until now. They agreed to continue negotiations and to establish a deadline in this respect at the end of June.

The Minister of National Defence, Mircea Duşa, told the Portuguese officials that Romania is interested in developing cooperation at service level in the field of training, personnel training and technical support.

Afghanistan, Chicago Summit, the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) were all topics the two ministers dealt with. They also reviewed the agenda of the European Affairs Ministers to take place in Luxembourg on 22 and 23 April 2013.

-ends-




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