The five F-16 fighter jets that Portugal will sell to Romania, in a deal officialized Monday, will be modernized and updated at the Monte Real Air Base, according to a source from the Ministry of Defense.
At the ceremony to officialize the sale of the aircraft, Minister of Defense João Gomes Cravinho said the fighters were going to be modernized and updated at OGMA - Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal SA, information that later the communication office came to change.
"With this process we are not only selling aircraft, but also establishing a very close relationship of collaboration with the Romanian Air Force, with the pilots and the entire maintenance team," said the minister, who was accompanied by his Romanian counterpart.
According to the minister, in June the first aircraft will be handed over, in October two more and the last one will be in early 2021.
The €130 million deal includes, in addition to the F-16 fighters, technical conversion to Romanian specifications and the work of the Portuguese Air Force in Romania for information transmission and maintenance.
The Minister of Defence also said that the two countries will work together within NATO and the EU and that the strengthening of cooperation with Romania is being studied in a number of areas.
"Romania is interested in our textile industry, which has equipped our Armed Forces, and we also talked about the possibility of working together at GEOMETOC - Centre of Excellence of Nato in Portugal, Romania's centre of excellence on human intelligence, which is of interest to Portugal, and collaboration in space," he said.
He also mentioned that both countries feel the need "to strengthen their naval capabilities, with the construction of ships in Portugal and Romania".