Romanian President Klaus Iohannis announced plans to purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters as part of its Air Force modernization program.
“The new types of aircraft that are in the endowment of the Army, especially the F-16 aircraft, allow the execution with high efficiency of all specific missions. The modernization process of the Air Force will not stop here, however, we are considering to purchase state-of-the-art aircraft, the F-35,” the President said on Wednesday at the 71st Air Base General Emanoil Ionescu in Campia Turzii, central Romania, as per reports.
The Romanian Air Force currently consists of 17 F-16 fighters that Bucharest procured second-hand from Portugal to replace the older MiG-21 Lancers. The MiG-21s will be phased out by 2024.
At the end of last year, defense minister Vasile Dincu asked parliament to give the green light to the acquisition of 32 second-hand F-16 aircraft from Norway for approximately $500 million.
Romania plans to spend around $11 billion until 2026 to enhance its defense capabilities.