Portugal handed the first six F-16 Romania, at a ceremony held on 28 September at the Air Base No.5 (BA 5) in Monte Real.
These aircraft are the first of 12 sold by the government in 2013, and the contract includes the training of 84 Romanian military personnel in Portugal, of which 9 pilots and technical support personnel for the operation and support of the fleet.
Moreover, along with the six F-16s, Portuguese pilots, engineers, programmers and technicians left for Romania, and will remain there for two years to monitor the installation of aircraft in its new base.
The next three airplanes will be delivered by the end of the year, and the remaining three aircraft, which were bought by Portugal to the North American manufacturer and are still being updated, will fly to Romania in September 2017. The process of modernization of the aircraft and personnel training, which started in 2014, will end in 2018.
According to the Prime Minister, António Costa, who chaired the ceremony in BA 5, "it is important that citizens know that their military are capable and see themselves with pride as advocates and practitioners of the principles and values which founded the unit and national identity."
The head of state was accompanied by the Minister of National Defense (MDN), Azeredo Lopes, the Minister of Defense of Romania, Mihnea Ioan Motoc, the Chief of Armed Forces General Staff, General Artur Pina Monteiro, and the chief of the Air Force, General Manuel Teixeira Roll, among other important personalities.
Speaking to journalists, the MDN stated that regardless of the financial result of the sale, to Portuguese interests the prestige of having successfully completed the upgrade mission and sale of F-16 bought 22 years ago to the United States. The capital gains that may result from the contract, assured the Minister, will be re-invested in the Air Force.
The formal signing of transfer documents for the first six F-16 aircraft to Romania took place on September 26 in BA 5. This included the transfer of all documentation relating to these aircraft as contractually agreed.
This documentation includes all configuration and maintenance records of the aircraft, aircraft logbooks, as well as its Certificate of Airworthiness for Export issued by the National Aviation Authority (NAA). This was the first time that such models of certificates were issued by the NAA.
In this event, it was also given the due documentation of monitoring by the General Directorate of National Defense Resources, the Ministry of National Defense under the Government Quality Assurance (GQA) that was requested by Romania.