Romania on Thursday inducted the first PATRIOT surface-to-air missile (SAM) system bought from Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin under the United States Foreign Military Sales program.
“The set-up of the first Patriot system is only a first step towards building a formidable air defence capability for our country, which will significantly contribute to consolidating deterrence and the defence of NATO on its eastern flank,” Romania’s Defence Minister, Nicolae Ciuca, said at the unveiling ceremony at the Cape Midia military base near the Black Sea port of Constanta.
The Romanian military will receive another three Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target (PATRIOT) batteries from 2022, Balkan Insight reported.
Speaking at the Cape Midia ceremony, the US ambassador to Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman, said, “The delivery of Patriot systems to Romania will allow the country to better protect itself and its NATO allies from threats. Among these threats I will single out Russia and China.”
However, Zuckerman did not explain how and since when Russia and China began to "threaten" Romania.
“The acquisition of these systems solves a big problem for Romania’s national defence system,” a military expert Claudiu Degeratu was quoted as saying by Balkan news. “We inherited only missile systems produced in the former USSR; Romania did not acquire anything of relevance in this field after 1990,” he added.
Following the withdrawal of nearly 12,000 US troops from Germany, US officials have announced an intention to redeploy some them to Poland and Romania, to reinforce deterrence of Russia on NATO’s eastern flank.
The US already has two military bases in Romania and is planning to invest in turning the former Soviet airbase of Campia Turzii in Transylvania into a major hub from which to boost reconnaissance patrols over the Black Sea.
The shift of US forces to the Balkans from Germany has happened at a time when Berlin decided to cut US military presence to save costs in the absence of any threat from Russia.