The Romania government will most likely sign a contract to purchase US-built Patriot missile defense systems on December 1, according to country's Defense Minister Mihai Fifor.
The acquisition, worth up to 3.9 billion U.S. dollars, will include seven Patriot Configuration 3+ units, complete with radars, control station, antenna, launching stations and power plants. The first Patriot surface-to-air missile system, to be purchased this year, will be operational in 2020, Fifor said.
The purchase was approved by the Romania parliament on Tuesday. The Chambers of Deputies adopted the army endowment bill with 279 votes in favour, one against, and one abstention, paving the way for seven Patriot surface-to-air missile systems to be purchased, Xinhua reports.
In July, the US State Department cleared the sale of Patriot air defence systems to Romania for an estimated $3.9 billion (3.42 billion euro).
The systems will provide protection from aggressive air attacks not only for Romania, but will also contribute to the defense of Romania's neighbors and the NATO alliance as a whole, U.S. Ambassador in Bucharest Hans Klemm was quoted as saying in July.
In October, Romania signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Raytheon for maintenance of missile defence systems that includes transfer of technology and technical assistance necessary for the modernization and upgrading of existing equipment, as well as the provision of technical support for Patriot missile systems.
Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defence system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.